AMES, Iowa — A romance between hydrogen and oxygen, a modern classical ode to prairies and dogs asking us not to pollute: Water Rocks! music videos are as varied as the uses of water.
Water Rocks! is a statewide youth water education campaign in which music is used as a primary component.
“We use music, science, math, art, videos and technology as the means of reminding students of the fact that water is elemental to life,” says Comito. “Music is also elemental to our lives. Something sung is more powerful and easier to remember than spoken word. It triggers our imagination and touches our heart.”
Original songs for the campaign are written, composed and performed by Smiling Stone Soup comprised of Jacqueline Comito and Ann Staudt, along with central Iowa musician Todd Stevens. Some songs have guest musicians including guitarist Nathan Stevenson and Ames percussionist Anthony Stevens, formerly of The Bone People.
Many of the songs have been made into music videos; others can be heard through the music player on the Water Rocks! website. The music videos are appealing to a variety of ages, incorporating a diverse blend of musical genres and artistic styles.
The song “Will U B the H 2 my O?” is a sweet high school romance between hydrogen and oxygen, and chronicles their “attraction” to one another. While the costuming is designed with a 1950s theme, the song itself features a modern pop sound. The music video features Ames High School students and helps young people understand the chemistry of water molecules.
“We All Live in a Watershed” features animation by Josh LaVille. On the music video a squirrel and mouse sing about what a watershed is and who is a part of it. The tune is simple so the younger kids can quickly sing along. The animation also shows where water goes within the watershed after a rain.
A parody of 1980s big-hair hard rock, “Cover Crop Anthem” shouts the many benefits of cover crops. The music video is set as a heavy metal stage show, including long hair, dueling guitars, screaming vocals, explosions and even dancing biomass.
A sampling of other music videos include: “What Does A River Want to Do?” with kids and puppets; a bluesy “Wetlands Have Real Important Jobs to Do;” “Isle of Plastic,” addressing accumulation of plastics in the oceans; “Everybody Poops,” which helps youth understand how waste and water quality are related; and the theme song “Water Rocks!,” highlighting many bodies of water in Iowa and beyond.
The Water Rocks! team teaches songs to elementary classrooms in Iowa during classroom visits. Many songs include hand and body motions to get the kids up and active. The team visits schools by request at no cost, and offer age-appropriate learning activities for kindergarten through high school. A visit request form is on the Water Rocks! website.
All the music videos can be seen on the Water Rocks! website, YouTube and TeacherTube. Audio recordings of other original water-related songs can be found on the website, too, including “Climate Change Remix,” “The Drinking Song” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider Rap.”
Water Rocks! delivers entertaining and engaging activities to inspire kids of all ages to appreciate water resources. The campaign brings awareness and education to a wide variety of audiences using different learning approaches. Through classroom visits, an interactive website, an award-winning computer game, songs, music videos, dogs, enhanced learning activities, public service ads, teacher/peer mentor workshops and geocaching, Water Rocks! offers an original, light-hearted approach to this vast topic. Visit the website to learn more or to request a classroom visit: www.waterrocks.org. Water Rocks! is also on Facebook and Instagram.
Partners of Water Rocks! are Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Water Center and Iowa Learning Farms.