Water has shaped history, and it will determine our future. Learning about water and the role it plays locally and globally is essential to understanding our communities and the planet. Use these resources to explore water with Spanish learners.
Learning About Water Around the World
Water Rolls Water Rises / El agua rueda, el agua sube by Pat Mora
This award-winning bilingual book by Pat Mora is a must-have for learning about water in Spanish or English. The verse and beautiful illustrations follow water around the globe. Each picture is based on a body of water and they come together to convey how water moves and connects us. The book includes a dual language list of the locations that inspire the illustrations. Water Rolls, Water Rises / El agua rueda, el agua sube is a picture book, but the beauty of the art, the global reach, and the effective verse make it a wonderful reading experience for all ages.
Publisher Lee & Low Books has an Educator’s Guide for this wonderful book, along with additional resources for teaching about water. You can find those materials and Water Rolls, Water Rises / El agua rueda, el agua sube at Lee & Low Books or purchase the book on Amazon.
Learning About Water in Latin America
Several countries in Latin America make their textbooks available free online. The following lessons from Peru and Mexico are a good way of incorporating language, culture and global awareness into water education.
Peru’s Ministerio de Educación provides Sesiones de Aprendizaje at no cost. These supplemental lessons are a wonderful resource for many content areas, including learning about water. The link is to the 2015 set of lessons, but the 2016 set is available on the left sidebar. You can also explore material for different grades. To explore the resources most easily view the first file in each unit, the Orientación general. There you’ll find an index of the lessons for that unit.
These materials have various lessons for learning about water. For example, this first grade text is divided into six units. Unidad 6 has 40 lessons or “sesiones”. Sesión 22-32 have to do with water, and are appropriate for Spanish learners in the elementary grades.
Mexico’s Secretaría de Educación Pública makes national textbooks available at no cost. Again, there is a valuable material to use with Spanish learners.
For activities for learning about water, for example, click on Primaria, and under 2o Periodo Escolar click on Exploración de la Naturaleza y la Sociedad. When you click ver más on the cover, you can view or download the entire book. Beginning on about page 50, you’ll find information and activities for learning about water.
There are many other resources for learning about water in Latin America, and many conservation initiatives to share with your students. For example, a university in Lima created this spot to highlight a billboard that uses condensation to produce potable water.
Learning about Water Close to Home
Museum on Main Street
The Smithsonian Museum on Main Street outreach program has a wonderful resource for exploring water. Their newest exhibition, Water/Ways, will be traveling throughout the country through 2022. Working with partner exhibitions in small communities, Water/Ways explores the role of water in local environment, history and culture.
If the exhibition is coming to a community near you, it is a wonderful opportunity to learn about water in your area. You can find the schedule and educator resources here: Smithsonian Museum on Main Street – Water/Ways.
We would like to recognize publisher Lee & Low Books for donating copies of Water Rolls, Water Rises / El agua rueda, el agua sube to a number of rural Kansas communities acting as partner sites for the Water/Ways exhibition. We appreciate their continued commitment to giving children access to beautiful, educational books.
Activities from Florida
These activities from the Southwest Florida Water Management District are perfect for learning about water in Spanish. The printable PDF has games, coloring pages and activities.
Printable Poster from U.S.G.S.
Several years ago, Howard Perlman of the U.S. Geological Survey contacted me to share this great graphic of the water cycle in Spanish. It is designed for elementary and middle school. The diagram is a free download and can be printed in several sizes, including tabloid (17×11) and poster (33×24).
Simple Water Cycle Printable
This diagram of the water cycle has brief descriptions using simple language.
Spanish Vocabulary for Playing with Water
Children first experience water through play. Long before they understand the water cycle and the crucial role water plays in our lives, they splash and enjoy the miracle of water.
Learning about water children learn geography, culture, science and history. Please share your favorite resources for teaching children about water in the comments below.