Pirates Seize the High Seas of Water Conservation

February 26, 2014

Featured

Educational performance teaches students about the ultimate treasure: water

Pirate Captain Doorknob educates students about conserving water. Photo courtesy of The National Theatre for Children (Minneapolis).

Pirate Captain Doorknob educates students about conserving water. Photo courtesy of The National Theatre for Children (Minneapolis).

Pirate Captain Doorknob searches for an unknown treasure so valuable that no one could live without it. After conducting an entertaining search, he learns that the treasure is water. This story, told through the theatrical multimedia program, “The Water Pirates of Neverland: Oceans 3 ½,” educates students about water conservation.

During the 2013–2014 school year, more than 20,000 elementary school students in California’s Ventura and Los Angeles Water Districts will have the opportunity learn about efficient water use through the program.

“My students thoroughly enjoyed it and we covered all discussed topics back in the classroom. This assembly was a great way to make water conservation understandable and bring it to life for all students,” said Jose Espinoza, fourth grade teacher at Shirpser Elementary School (El Monte, Calif.).

“The Water Pirates of Neverland: Oceans 3 ½” actors perform a script that incorporates classroom curriculum, digital educational games, and homework assignments to teach about water. Photo courtesy of The National Theatre for Children.

“The Water Pirates of Neverland: Oceans 3 ½” actors perform a script that incorporates classroom curriculum, digital educational games, and homework assignments to teach about water. Photo courtesy of The National Theatre for Children.

The National Theatre for Children (Minneapolis) developed the program and the curriculum it covers. California American Water (Coronado, Calif.) contracted to have the theater group visit schools throughout its service area to teach about the importance of water conservation, said Kimberly Smith, Water Conservation Specialist for California American Water. California American Water is sponsoring the program so students at local schools can see the performance for free, Smith explained.

“The program toured this past fall 2013 and is continuing this winter through March,” Smith said. During the fall, 4224 California students in 10 schools saw the program. “The program was very well received by the schools and we received a lot of great feedback from teachers,” she added.

The educational program is visiting schools in the California American Water (Coronado, Calif.) service area to teach about water as an important resource. Photo courtesy of The National Theatre for Children.

The educational program is visiting schools in the California American Water (Coronado, Calif.) service area to teach about water as an important resource. Photo courtesy of The National Theatre for Children.

During the 25-minute program, professional actors perform a script that incorporates classroom curriculum, digital educational games, and homework assignments to teach about the importance and uses of water, how water gets polluted, and what individuals can do to save and conserve water, according to a California American Water news release. Using interactive learning techniques, the actors involve the audience in the performance. After the performance, each student receives workbooks and teachers receive guides and classroom posters related to water education to reinforce lessons learned.

“It’s the combination of live theater, student workbooks, and educational games that makes this program so effective,” Smith said. The character Captain Doorknob recruites friends Crabby Malone, a crab cab driver, and Toni the Flipper, a dolphin, to hunt down the treasure and learn about the importance of water and conserving it as a necessary resource. The captain finds the Roman god Neptune’s lair and tells what he has learned about water to find out that the treasure is water itself. The audience learns not only uses for and the importance of water, but also ways to conserve it at home.

“The kids were very entertained and I know they got the message about water conservation. They love the student take-home booklet,” said Janice DeMarco, third grade teacher at St. Luke School (Temple City, Calif.).

— Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights

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