What better way to teach sixth graders about the Water Cycle than by having them put together a simple movie with National-Geographic-quality footage that they can show to their parents, classmates, and friends? They'll have fun, they're learn about their environment, and they'll never look at clouds or streams or glaciers the same way again.


Global surface temperatures have increased 0.74°C (+/- 0.18°C) since the late-19th century. You really think teenagers understand what that means - or care? But what if they had to make their own mini-documentary explaining global warming or showing evidence or consequences or potential solutions - or even proving/disproving the assumption that global warming exists? What if they then show their documentaries to classmates in a video debate? They'll care - passionately - and in the end they may just realize that they can make a difference.


Virtually all schools have a recycling program, but how many students participate enthusiastically? Once they air their films in one of the school assemblies, not only will they become passionate advocates, but they'll convert their friends as well.


Most students can tell you that the world has limited resources, but very few see how this connects to their own lives. Let them make a film about overfishing and Japan's tuna auction and they'll never look at food in a seafood restaurant the same way again.


Do California students ever wonder where the water comes from when they turn on the bathroom tap? Not after working on a California Water documentary. Wind and solar energy - the answer to our country's energy needs or an expensive waste of time? Let your kids put together a sixty-second public service announcement and they'll have an informed opinion - guaranteed.


How do you get young people to look up from their smart phones and see the world around them? Use their own fascination with technology to turn them into activists and advocates. Along the way they'll gather facts and figures, debate the issues, and realize how connected they are to the environment. But most of all, they'll learn to care.