Louisville Water Foundation promotes education throughout the community
By: Thomas Pack, Louisville Water
A Louisville Water Foundation grant is facilitating a unique STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) project for local elementary students.
Last summer, the foundation awarded a grant of $14,850 to the Fund for the Arts for a pilot program administered by Louisville Visual Art.
The program — called LVA Water Tower: Form and Function — involves more than 500 fourth graders in 20 classrooms at 6 schools. The students first receive a lesson from a Louisville Water educator, who explains why Louisville has the oldest-standing water tower of its kind in the United States.
The students also learn about the architecture of the tower, how it was used for water production in 1860 and how Louisville Water produces drinking water today.
Then an LVA artist guides the students over three more days to complete their own “water works.” As the students learn about the vision of the tower’s original designer, they create a tower model that realizes their own vision.
“It’s a creative and stimulating way for the students to learn about an important part of our community’s history,” said Annette Cable, Education Coordinator at Louisville Visual Art.
As a warm-up activity, the students first build a tower out of mini-marshmallows. Then, working in small groups, the fourth graders use such materials as cardboard tubes, construction paper, markers and crayons to build their mini-towers.
Saniya Cole, a student at Eisenhower Elementary, said she liked the project “because I like to build things, and I like to be creative. I also learned a lot about the water tower.”
According to Channa Newman, Louisville Water Company’s Education Supervisor, “The LVA Water Tower: Form and Function program has successfully brought science and art together for many students this year. This partnership is a great example of how students can learn across content and address real-world situations.”
Newman added that “students have learned about the importance of Louisville Water’s innovations in science and technology while also experiencing critical thinking, creative problem solving and team-building to create model water towers using Greek and Roman architectural elements.”
Jenny Yankey, the arts and humanities teacher at Eisenhower Elementary, said her students had a lot of fun making their own towers, and “it’s not the type of project they get to do very often.”
In addition to Eisenhower, four other schools —Brandeis, Bates, Rutherford and Hartstern — have participated in the program. In late May (after the state testing period), fourth graders at Wellington Elementary will work towards their own towering achievements.
The Louisville Water Foundation works to improve the health and well-being of local communities and those around the world by providing water assistance and water education. Established in 2013, the Foundation is the philanthropic extension of Louisville Water Company.