Monday, September 10, 2007

Israeli Water Program Taught in China, Latin America, Elswhere

With water-supply issues gaining in world-wide importance, countries around the world recognize Israel's contribution to study of water. A junior high school program named Blue Planet is on its way to being translated into Chinese, with UNESCO's backing, after having already been translated into Spanish. Translations into three other languages are also being prepared.

The curriculum, written by Weizmann Institute scientists Prof. Nir Orion and his former student Dr. Orit Ben-Zvi Assaraf, involves inter-disciplinary learning, with an emphasis on outdoors field activities. The chemical, physical, and biological aspects of the water cycle are taught in an integrated manner, featuring processes such as permeation, vaporization, and the rocks/water reciprocical relationship.

Questions of relevant interest are raised, such as, "Would the amount of water on earth be depleted following increased use of water? Is the water in Israel drinkable? What is considered good-quality water? How is water quality tested?"

A ceremony was held on Sunday in Weizmann Institute's unique glass-enclosed EcoSphere dome, where the Spanish version of the book was presented to a UNESCO representative. The authors plan to visit Latin America in the near future, where they will help teachers implement the Blue Planet study program.

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