Water Rocks! Ready To Inspire Kids Across Iowa

Iowa Farm Scene

Water Rocks! is an ISU Extension program designed to inspire kids of all ages to appreciate water resources.

Published on: September 16, 2013

What do rubber ducks, dogs, pirates, poop and poodle skirts have in common? These are all tools being used to promote a new statewide awareness campaign called "Water Rocks!" At the recent annual meeting of the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Iowa, held in Des Moines, I and a couple hundred other people had the opportunity to hear a presentation by Jacqueline Comito, director of the campaign. She explained the Water Rocks! project and showed several of the videos she and her team produced.

Water Rocks! is an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach campaign delivering entertaining and engaging activities to inspire kids of all ages to appreciate water resources. 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.

MUSIC VIDEO: The  cast of "Will U B the H 2 my O?" pauses during filming. The music video can be seen on the Water Rocks! website. These are Ames High School students.
MUSIC VIDEO: The cast of "Will U B the H 2 my O?" pauses during filming. The music video can be seen on the Water Rocks! website. These are Ames High School students.

"It begins and ends with water," says Comito, an anthropologist who is manager of the Iowa Learning Farms program at ISU. "The long-term health of our land and water rests in our youth, the future decision-makers. In Water Rocks!, we use music, science, math, art, video and technology as the means of reminding students of the fact that water is elemental to life. Our campaign reaches people through music, in-person presentations, the use of outdoor nature settings, and through the media."

CONNECTING: At a school visit, a Water Rocks! team member shows students the cumulative effect of pollutants in the water. Students contribute representations of bacteria, chemicals, soil and other things to the water source in the watershed. Water Rocks! is a combination of using STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering & math) and the arts to catch the attention of young people.
CONNECTING: At a school visit, a Water Rocks! team member shows students the cumulative effect of pollutants in the water. Students contribute representations of bacteria, chemicals, soil and other things to the water source in the watershed. Water Rocks! is a combination of using STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering & math) and the arts to catch the attention of young people.

Through music -- the campaign reaches kids and other people by using music in a big way to show that water really does rock

RUBBER DUCKY: One of the public service ads "Whats in your water?" replaces rubber ducks with raindrops so we may see what is in our water more easily.
RUBBER DUCKY: One of the public service ads "What's in your water?" replaces rubber ducks with raindrops so we may see what is in our water more easily.

Kids, families and classrooms can watch original music videos on the Water Rocks! website or YouTube channel. "Human Landfills," "Everybody Poops" and "Will U B the H 2 my O?" offer catchy tunes and great visuals to make learning easier. "Music is elemental to our lives. Something sung is more powerful and easier to remember than spoken word. It triggers our imagination and touches our heart," says Comito.

In person -- the Water Rocks! team visits schools across Iowa free of charge

The Water Rocks! team visits K-12 classrooms across Iowa, at no charge, teaching kids about water, natural resources and agriculture. Weaving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with the arts, students complete learning activities. Within a class period, kids can learn a new song, learn what a watershed is and which one they live in, or learn about soil properties.