Help Teach Kids About Environmental Resources and The Struggles of Children in War Torn Regions, At The Same Time

Ms. White is a middle school teacher at Jefferson Middle School in Champaign, Illinois, with a great idea for an interdisciplinary project that she needs our help to fund since she works in an impoverished school district:

My Students: One morning this summer I woke up and began reading “A Long Walk to Water”. An hour later, not only had I finished the book but I also had a vision of what could be a truly amazing interdisciplinary project. I plan to have them investigate water as a natural resource as well as social issues of Sudan.

In 8th grade at my school, many students take a class called Flex. The class is designed to engage students in critical thinking, develop their organizational skills and prepare them for high school. In my Flex classes, I also have a focus on literacy and community service.

Flex is an excellent venue to enrich the curriculum of other classes and provide students with opportunities to delve more deeply into topics of interest. For the majority of my day, I teach science and therefore I tend to do a lot of science enrichment activities that take our curriculum to the next level.

For this project, I will also be working with the Social Studies teacher on my team so that students will engage in a meaningful cross-curricular project.

My Project: The first step of this project will be for students to read “A Long Walk to Water”. This book is based on the true story of Salva Dut, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. It chronicles his life starting in 1985 as he traveled to various refugee camps while simultaneously describing the life of a young girl in 2008 who must walk 8 hours a day to obtain water for her family.

By the end of the novel a well is being drilled in the girl’s village and you discover that Salva Dut eventually created the non-profit organization that drills the well and spends half of each year raising money for the wells, and the other half actually out helping to drill the wells.

After my students read the novel, we will spend time learning about water as a natural resource, the ecology of Sudan, as well as the societal issues of Sudan. As a culminating activity, students will design and implement a school-wide and community fundraiser in order to raise money for the Water for Sudan non-profit organization.

This project will have a tremendous impact on the lives of my students. It will illustrate to them some of the hardships that are occurring around the world and will provide them with an opportunity to act on what they learn. Your donation to this project will not only benefit the students at my school, but will also have an impact on the millions of South Sudanese who walk mile after mile to obtain fresh water.

My students need 40 copies of “A Long Walk to Water”, by Linda Sue Park.

Your Donations?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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