Utah Water Education All Wet

Published March 1, 1998

A comprehensive water education curriculum that encouraged scientific thought in children has been replaced by a “Project Wet” curriculum filled with activities that attribute human characteristics to animals, plants, and inanimate objects. While the new approach is claimed to be “motivating” to children, researchers from Utah State University point out that such “erroneous ways of thinking” may “contribute to scientific illiteracy and even hostility toward science.”

“Unfortunately, the outcomes fall into the category of creating water molecule huggers out of our children, and they completely miss many of the scientific principles that are specified in the state elementary science core as being important for them to learn,” warn Drs. Donald R. Daugs and C. Earl Israelsen.

Although Project Wet is billed as “good science” and has been accepted as such by poorly informed teachers, its anthropomorphic approach encourages children to respond emotionally to situations that require scientific problem-solving.

In their position paper “Some Concerns Related to Water Education in Utah,” Daugs and Israelsen see a strong potential for long-term detrimental impact on the science education of Utah’s school children if use of the “Project Wet Curriculum and Activity Guide” is continued. Instead, they recommend a return to “The Comprehensive Water Education Book,” which is not only interesting to students but informative and scientifically correct.