Water Rocks! Launches New Spoken Word Workshops for Middle and High School Students

Workshops encourage youth to share their thoughts and feelings about conservation

February 5, 2021, 9:11 am | Hilary Pierce

AMES, Iowa – Iowa middle school and high school students have a new opportunity to learn about natural resources and how they can develop their own conservation voice.

Water Rocks! Spoken Earth is a new program being offered by Water Rocks!, the statewide water education program based at Iowa State University and part of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Spoken Earth.The workshops are delivered virtually and offer a new twist on conservation and natural resources education for secondary students. With a combination of science, spoken word poetry, literature, art, popular culture and advocacy, the workshops have garnered excellent reviews from teachers and students alike.

“A big part of the Water Rocks! mission to educate tomorrow’s leaders about conservation and natural resources, is to help them find their voice and provide them with the confidence and power to use it to create change in their world,” said Ann Staudt, Water Rocks! director. “Spoken word poetry has a long history as a vehicle for protest and promoting change, and we are hopeful that today’s students will embrace this art form in sharing their passions for the earth and our future. It has been exciting to watch the light bulbs go on in so many students when they create and share their own spoken word artwork.”

Designed for secondary students, the workshop incorporates learning objectives which help fulfill Iowa Core writing standards for literacy in history/social studies, science and technical subjects for each grade level. Details are available online.

Kate Boonstra, ELP teacher at Prairieview School and Timberline School in the Waukee Community School District, recently hosted the workshops in her eighth and ninth grade classrooms.

“I appreciate any opportunity to connect my students with adults who model professional practice in a variety of domains,” said Boonstra. “Working with an expert in the area of spoken word poetry was a great way to expose students to another avenue to express themselves and share their voices.”

The 40-minute workshops provide an introduction to the history and power of spoken word poetry, science-based learning about biodiversity and ecology, an opportunity for students to create their own spoken word pieces, and a chance to perform their original work for the class.

To learn more about Water Rocks! visit www.waterrocks.org. To request Water Rocks!

About Water Rocks!

Water Rocks! is Iowa’s unique, award-winning statewide youth water education program. Through a combination of STEM and the arts, especially music, Water Rocks! educates, challenges and inspires young people toward a greater appreciation of our state’s water, soil and other natural resources.

Partners of Water Rocks! include: Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (United States Environmental Protection Agency, Section 319 of the Clean Water Act), Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and personal gifts of support.

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