OGDEN -- Where did your glass of water come from?
That was the question author, explorer and water conservationist Jon Waterman posed to students at Shadow Valley Elementary recently as he talked about his half-year journey down the Colorado River in 2008.
That question really got the students thinking. Emily Major, a sixth-grader, planned to go home and talk with her parents about water conservation, more specifically, watering the lawn.
"I think we should talk about not having a big green lawn in the desert," Major said.
Students sat quietly as Waterman went through a video presentation of his journey and talked about the water the Colorado River provides for those who live in the west. He also showed pictures of how the river has changed over the last 100 years and talked about the use of dams and their importance.
Waterman came to the school courtesy of the Ogden School Foundation. He also visited Ben Lomond High School and talked about some of the same issues. The main reason for his Ogden visit was to promote Weber State University's new environmental studies minor, now being offered for the second year, to area students, said WSU professor Mikel Vause.
After Waterman's presentation, Shadow Valley students' hands shot up by the dozens with many detailed questions. Students paid close attention because it pertains to many of the issues they have studied.
Shadow Valley is an environmental science magnet school and students spend time studying topics such as where water comes from, how it is used and also endangered species on and around the river, said Melissa Robinson, environmental education specialist. Robinson spends half her day at the school and the other half working at the Ogden Nature Center. Robinson loved how Waterman's presentation went hand-in-hand with topics the students have been studying.
"I'm always telling students that science is an adventure and here they see that he took an adventure in science," Robinson said excitedly.
Students spent almost as much time asking questions as they did watching the presentation as his answers prompted more questions.
"You're really trying to stump me with these questions," Waterman joked with the kids.
After class, Waterman said he was thrilled with the students' curiosity. He has two sons, ages 8 and 4, so he knows how to talk to kids.
"I think I could have given this at a higher level," he said of the presentation. "You can tell when an audience is with you and these kids were right with me and taking it all in."
That also thrills Robinson, to think her students are involved in everything they are learning. Some children had questions about endangered fish because the fourth-graders had just finished a unit on endangered fish and made presentations and posters.
"This just fits into what they are learning and they can apply it to real life," she said.
She plans to take information the students learned from Waterman and apply it to topics in the classroom and labs.
"I try to teach the students that the questions are what is important and that science can be applied in every part of life. Today they have seen that is true."