The art of persuasion
ISD 8th graders practiced the art of presentation and persuasion on the final day of their first semester interdisciplinary unit (IDU). The topic of their inquiry was water issues around the world. Their IDU incorporates learning in English, humanities, math and science. Instructors from each subject worked together to create an inquiry-based course that allows students to use skills from each discipline as part of their final project. Students were invited to interest, educate, and persuade a potential donor to support their cause. Students explored the issues facing countries all over the world, not all of which have obvious water supply issues. They included: Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Jordan, Pakistan, Qatar, Singapore, Tanzania, U.A.E., and U.S.A. (California).
Ray and Mara created a detailed presentation about the water supply issues in Tanzania. Their presentation highlighted the need for clean water and the barriers to accessing water each day. To amplify their message, they created a display that showed the varying water quality levels available in the country using coffee grounds to represent the waste in the water.
Qatar is a wealthy country that relies heavily on desalination and imported food, however Finley provided data on how the country could face a water shortage in 15 to 20 years when their oil supply is depleted. If this happens, the country would no longer be able to afford the high cost of clean water or fresh food.
Louise talked about the poor water quality in Brazil and the impact that has on the residents, as well as the meat and food products that are exported from the country. And Anita and Melis highlighted the water issues facing the UAE. The country also relies heavily on desalination and this is exacerbated by the extremely high water use per person, per day: 550 litres; compared to Germany’s 125 litres/per person/per day. The students pointed out how the combination seems unsustainable.
Next semester, the students will expand on their learning and will apply their skills in research, presentation and persuasion in real world situations. Specifically, they will look at how valuable presentation and persuasion can be in fields like politics, business, product design and more.