Interconnected by water | BCHydro Power Smart for Schools

Interconnected by water

Explore how water interconnects all living things.

Activity Image
45 mins
Group work


Students explore what Indigenous ways of knowing can teach us about how water interconnects all living things.

Power Smart for Schools 


What you'll need

  • "How does water interconnect all living things?" worksheet, one copy for each student
  • "How does water interconnect all living things?" slides
  • "Indigenous perspectives on water" handout
  • Digital projector and screen
  • Technology to play and listen to online video clips

  1. Organize your students into pairs and provide each student with the "How does water interconnect all living things?" worksheet. 
  2. Explain that the challenge of this activity is to create a web that accurately shows how water interconnects all living things. Guide students’ attention to the arrows connecting water and humans and invite students to suggest what the direction of the arrows might represent (e.g. the arrow pointing from water to humans shows that water gives drinking water to humans). Invite groups to label the arrow with additional details:
    • On the arrow pointing from water to humans, something else that humans receive from water.
    • On the arrow pointing from humans to water, something that water receives from humans, or how humans impact water.
    • In the empty box beside humans, another living thing that is connected to water and humans (e.g., salmon). 
  3. Encourage groups to share their most thoughtful connection with the class. 
  4. Open up and display the "How does water interconnect all living things?" slides. Show slide 2 and ask groups to use details from the image to add more interconnections to their web. Encourage students to add connecting arrows in both directions to show reciprocal relationships among water and living things. 
  5. Invite groups to share their most thoughtful connections with the class. 
  6. Provide students with additional opportunities to explore more interconnections among water and all living things. Opportunities include some or all of the following: 
  7. Encourage groups to share their most thoughtful connections with the class. As students share, invite them to reflect on how Indigenous teachings and perspectives can help us better understand how water interconnects all living things. 
  8. Conclude this activity by encouraging students to reflect on their webs: 
    • What do the webs show about how water interconnects all living things? 
    • What are the most important connections between water and living things? 
    • How could the webs be used to teach people about the importance of water? 
    • What can the webs teach us about how we should treat water? 

Curriculum Fit

Grade 5 Science 

Big idea

  • Earth materials change as they move through the rock cycle and can be used as natural resources. 


  • First Peoples concepts of interconnectedness in the environment 
  • The nature of sustainable practices around BC’s resources 
  • First Peoples knowledge of sustainable practices 

Curricular competency

Questioning and predicting
  • Demonstrate a sustained curiosity about a scientific topic or problem of personal interest 
  • Make observations in familiar or unfamiliar contexts 
  • Identify questions to answer or problems to solve through scientific inquiry 
Processing and analyzing data and information
  • Experience and interpret the local environment 
  • Identify First Peoples perspectives and knowledge as sources of information 
  • Demonstrate an openness to new ideas and consideration of alternatives 
Applying and innovating
  • Contribute to care for self, others, and community through personal or collaborative approaches 
  • Transfer and apply learning to new situations 
  • Generate and introduce new or refined ideas when problem solving 
  • Communicate ideas, explanations, and processes in a variety of ways 
  • Express and reflect on personal, shared, or others’ experiences of place

Teaching Notes

How this activity was developed

These materials were created with guidance from Indigenous educators, subject matter experts and thought leaders to help draw upon important teachings, learnings, and Indigenous perspectives.  

For centuries, the traditional western view of water has often been focused on its value as a resource. Indigenous people have a unique relationship with the waters of British Columbia. Since time immemorial, water has played a sacred role and is seen as a living entity. How water is used must be carefully considered with a view towards not just the immediate need and impact, but the needs and perspectives of generations to follow.

We are dedicated to deep listening and respectfully highlighting Indigenous ways of knowing in the materials we provide B.C. educators. If you have any feedback for us on these activities, or suggestions for others, please email We would love to hear from you.

About the artist

The design of the worksheets in this activity was a collaborative effort with Indigenous artist Kelli Clifton. Kelli Clifton was born and raised in Prince Rupert, British Columbia and is Gitga’at from the community of Hartley Bay. Clifton is interested in using her artwork as a form of storytelling—especially in relation to her Ts’msyen language (Sm’algyax), her coastal upbringing and her experiences as an Indigenous woman.  Clifton currently lives in her home community where she continues to practice her art and teaches Sm’algyax at a local high school. Learn more about Clifton's art on her Facebook page.

BC Hydro’s commitment to reconciliation 

BC Hydro exists to serve British Columbians by providing clean, reliable and affordable electricity. We recognize that maintaining and developing the system has impacts on the lives and interests of Indigenous Peoples. To support our move towards true and lasting reconciliation, BC Hydro will acknowledge past wrongs, listen to Indigenous perspectives and seek shared understanding with First Nations communities and governments. 

Learn more about our Statement of Indigenous Principles.


Throughout the activity, consider how well students:

  • Identify different criteria for meaningful consultation.
  • Use criteria to make decisions.
  • Make accurate observations from text and other sources.
  • Contribute to group discussions.

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