Students Learn About Protecting Drinking Water Sources at the Great American Teach-In

This year, like many before, Tampa Bay Water staff worked together to educate more than 400 children during the 2014 Great American Teach-In.

The Great American Teach In brings non-educators into classrooms throughout the Tampa Bay region to teach students about their work and life experiences. Tampa Bay Water staff talked about careers in water, and what they do for the agency and the region it serves. They also spoke to the students about the water cycle, where their water comes from and how they can conserve and protect it.

Tampa Bay Water staff visited:

  • Horace Mann Middle School
  • Greco Middle School
  • Deer Park Elementary
  • Lake Myrtle Elementary
  • McMullen Booth Elementary
  • Brooks Debarto Collegiate High School

The Tampa Bay region gets water from three sources, groundwater, surface water and desalinated seawater, but groundwater makes up more than 50 percent of our supply. In order to effectively take steps to protect our most dependable drinking water source, it’s important for students to understand how we get water from the ground.

To illustrate how the Floridan Aquifer works, several classes were treated to an edible aquifer groundwater experiment with candy as soils and gravels, ice cream as the confining layer, sprinkles as top soil, clear soda as water and food coloring to represent contaminates. The kids were able to see what happens when contaminates are introduced to our groundwater systems before enjoying a tasty dessert. They used a straw to drill a well into the center of the aquifer and pumped water by sucking soda through the straw. Not only could they see a declining water table, but also how contaminants can get sucked into a well area and end up in drinking water.

Each child was also provided educational handouts, bookmarks, pencils, eco bags and activity books to take home.

Our annual participation in the Great American Teach In educates future generations on the importance of water and protecting the region’s drinking water sources, and we hope to inspire a few students to pursue careers in one of the most valuable resources in life – water.