From the Bottom to the Surface project set out to widely explore the element of water and its impact on life. All the meetings were different offering visits and activities suitable to the place of visit, which only emphasized the fact that the theme can be accessed from quite different angles.
In this project the pupils were familiarized with the local water areas around which these towns have been established and which offer both recreation and supplies for waterworks as well as livelihood and food for the localities. They followed the route of water from these natural water areas to the everyday use of water taking samples from rivers and lakes as well as from bottled water and analyzing them. They learned about the fishes in Lake Lappajärvi and the Baltic Sea and carried out a dissection of a fish. They visited water purification establishments to see the complex systems of how water is treated before it is drinkable, and how the waste can be recycled. Furthermore, they discussed reducing and preventing water pollution, and produced artwork on the theme of water conservation and climate change. They know that water needs to be revered and protected for without it, we cannot cope.
Pupils also learned about the historical impact of water as a border between countries and the socio-economic impact of water while visiting the harbors where shipping industries play a significant role as providers of employment in the areas. On those excursions they could explore explore different natural environments by the sea fronts such as the Curonian Spit in Lithuania and its Sea Museum, the Valaste waterfall by the Gulf of Finland in Estonia and the Kvarken Strait by the Gulf of Bothnia where the land has kept lifting up ever since the Ice Age.
As many as 10 pupils and 2 teachers from each three countries participated in 3 class exchanges, first in Lithuania, then in Finland, and finally in Estonia. However, at schools, many more teachers and pupils actively joined the excursions, helped to organize the activities as well as prepared and attended the performances. In addition, all exchange pupils were accommodated in local families, which intensified the involvement of the surrounding community in the success of the project.
This project brought together young people who were very active and outgoing, so they greatly enjoyed working with each other. Most of them had not visited the other countries before and they were pleasantly surprised by what they learned about the people and culture in those countries. Both the teachers and pupils got experience in working in multicultural groups practising English. The pupils did lab work, gathered and analyzed data and presented the results to other groups in posters and in oral and written reports, using their IT skills. They also served as guides and translators in schools, on excursions and in their freetime. The teachers and the schools involved gained valuable experience in organizing an international project, which will encourage to continue such cooperation in the future.
We cannot escape the fact that water is the provider of life. We drink it, we waste it, it carries us and provides us with livelihood, recreation and endless opportunities to study life under water. It is up to us to conserve our water resources from the bottom to the surface.