The Minneapolis-based Youth Performance Company (YPC) developed a 14-week theater program to teach fourth- and fifth-graders about protecting water quality in the Mississippi River. The MWMO provided a Stewardship Fund Planning Grant to help YPC develop and teach the curriculum, which culminated in an original play developed by the students.
YPC designed the project as a way to introduce young people to an important environmental issue. They reached out to the MWMO, who connected them with New City School, a K-8 charter school in Northeast Minneapolis. New City School offered a residency to YPC, whose educators taught students a series of lessons that combined watershed science with theater performance. During these lessons, students acted out different states of water, explored the water cycle, learned the science of pollutants, and presented strategies to be part of the solution to water pollution.
The project concluded with an original play created by the students. The play allowed students to present what they learned about water quality, conservation, and how to become “H20 Heroes!” The performance included an original song written by YPC, “Flow like a River,” a song about how everyone can be a water hero.
Students turned in written assignments demonstrating what they knew about water quality before and after participating in the program. In addition to benefiting students, the play also served as a mode of greater community outreach, as the students spread their new H20 Heroes knowledge to the community members in attendance.