Changing Planet

Water and Life Lessons

What’s your water cycle? (Graphic designed by Meadow Wittlesberg)

Dear Educators, Let’s Talk Water

Have you and your students experimented with sprouting seeds in the classroom? Set up two growing stations with soil and seed. See what happens when one stations is watered and one is not.

From your experiments, you’ll find that water triggers life.

When astronauts go to space, they look for water, not aliens. Water signifies potential for extraterrestial life. The first living organisms emerged from the ocean-single cells whipped into shape from the vortexes of tides hitting dry lands. Our eyes evolved from creatures under water. Our bodies consist of over 70% water. Can you feel it inside of you? In the blood flowing through your veins? In the elasticity of your skin?

Those that stood at Standing Rock believed to their cores in the life-giving force of water.  Last week’s announcement regarding the redirection of the Dakota Access Pipeline acknowledges a respect of such beliefs, and a respect for those that hold them. To honor those who peacefully persevered amidst chilling temperatures and tempraments solely to protect our waters, I ask you to help spread an appreciation and a deep love for water and all that it does, so we can all become water protectors.

Ever grateful for your work, 


A most sacred river, the Ganges
A most sacred river – The Ganges

How do you teach about water? Share your favorite lessons and resources for our open-source curriculum! Here are some I like: 

Lesson Challenge of the Month: Redesigning Water 

  1. Ask students to think of a specific space – either garden, home or school (students can work individually or in groups). Students list all the ways water is used in this particular space.
  2. Students brainstorm or design ways to reduce water use.
  3. Students brainstorm or design ways to catch and use rainwater.
  4. Share your results with everyone! Email

More Lesson Ideas:

Contextualize Your Water Cycle: Starting with your nearest ocean, trace its evaporation, condensation, precipitation along nearest mountains, infiltration into your watershed and back to ocean.

Moving Water STEM Challenge: From the Captain Planet Foundation Project Learning Garden Program, this lesson asks students to design and build a system to move water from one source to two different delivery areas at least three feet away, using what they know about forces that move water. Click for lesson

We Are All Downstream: Through an interactive story, students experience the pollution of a local river over time, and propose methods to protect the river from cur- rent and future pollution. Click for lesson

lentils drying
lentils drying

Seed Saving Tip of the Month:

You MUST dry your seeds before storing. If any moisture remains in the seeds, the lifeforce will constantly attempt to activate, and the seeds will either germinate in storage or not at all ever. 

  • Dry seeds in the sun or under a light.
  • If the temperature outside is over 100 F, keep the seeds in the shade.
  • Be aware of humidity in the air – often at night, the air can be quite moist, so leaving seeds out at night is counterproductive.
  • Once seeds are dry, store them in an airtight container (jar, ziplock bag, etc) in a dry, cool space.


Lauren Ladov is a local food activist and educator. For the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, she is based in India, creating resources and an interactive open-source digital curriculum for teachers and youth around the world to engage in seed saving and diversity education. Participate with Lauren’s project through facebookinstagram, or sign up for a monthly newsletter with lesson plan challenges and materials. 

  • Joanna K Gerber

    Wonderful Lauren, upon returning my students and I will be participating in these lessons and learnings

  • Maglia Liverpool 2017

    I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both
    equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt,
    you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which not enough people are speaking intelligently about.
    I’m very happy I stumbled across this during my search for something concerning this.

    Magliette Calcio Bambino

    • Lauren Ladov

      Thank you Magliette! Really appreciate the words and sentiment behind them.

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