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Montezuma-Cortez Middle School. 8th Grade Science.

Montezuma-Cortez Middle School (M-CMS) is located in Cortez, Colorado which is in the rural, four-corners region. There are approximately 500 students at M-CMS, and each and every student comes from a diverse background. The diversity of our region defines who we are. It is important to recognize that each student and their family depends on the water within our region for their livelihood. 


Mrs. Lang, an 8th grade science teacher at Montezuma-Cortez Middle School, assigned a unique project to her students, she challenged them to create a podcast about something that inevitably binds us all- water.  She wanted her students to focus on Water Wrangling and how water is used and allocated across the state; in addition, she wanted to bring awareness to water preservation and conservation. Yet, as questions and answers were unpacked, the theme shifted from water conservation to water technology and innovation.


Each student was assigned a role for the podcast project. The different roles for this project included Ambassadors, who participated in a state-wide, virtual collaboration collecting evidence that would later be used in the podcast. There were also Website Developers, who were tasked with making the website and compiling summaries and work from students throughout the project. The Artists decorated the website and created visual representations of each water theme, and selected music for the podcast's transitions. The Partner Relation team was tasked with getting in touch with community and industry leaders to answer student-generated questions. The Equipment Managers determined the appropriate equipment needed to create and edit the podcast, and our Audacity Editors manipulated the interviews and created water-themed transitions to create a one of a kind podcast. Each role worked together to determine their responsibilities to contribute to the whole of the project. 


This podcast project strengthened the social and collaborative skills of every student. There was an emphasis on acquiring and activating 21st century skills needed to be active members of society. The learning was connected to the real world which makes education more meaningful and innovative. Students were able to walk away knowing they contributed to something more than just a test score. 

Colorado academic standards

  • Students will illustrate how the water cycle is a physical change of matter.

  • Students will explain how all the water within Earth’s system is conserved, meaning it cannot be created or destroyed within Earth’s closed system.

  • Students will define Newton’s Laws of motion and explain how they relate to the movement of water.

  • Students will express how different forms of energy are present in all water states and forms. 

  • Students will Illustrate how energy transforms within the water cycle, a flowing river, a bulging ocean, a running faucet, a hydroelectric dam, an irrigated pasture, and a water treatment plant.

  • Students will define radio waves and microwaves and express how the electromagnetic spectrum contributes to the production and distribution of a podcast.

Roles & Responsibilities


  • Collect and present new learning, research and data with the class.

  • Design science-related mini lessons based on newly acquired evidence.

  • Meet with Partner Relations to determine industry leaders and community partners to contact.

  • Meet with Secretary to summarize content and completed tasks. 

  • Meet with Website Developers to upload artifact of new learning.

  • Meet with Artists to share resources for the bulletin board.

Equipment Managers

  • Purchase microphones, podcast Rodecaster, and Audacity software.

  • Organize Recording Studio.

  • Communicate weekly with Sam Carter, podcast mentor.

  • Assist in the recording and editing of interviews.

  • Edit podcast using Audacity.

  • Meet with the Secretary to create podcast summary.

Partner Relations

  • Communicate with industry leaders and community partners.

  • Schedule Interviews.

  • Meet with Ambassadors and synthesize new learning.

  • Generate questions for interviews.

  • Meet with Secretary to summarize interviews.

  • Meet with Equipment Managers and share recorded interviews.


  • Create podcast cover art.

  • Create visual representation for each water theme.

  • Choose music for intro, conclusion and transitions

  • Design and update Water is for Everyone Bulletin Board.

Website Manager

  • Develop website.

  • Meet with Artists to add artwork and photos to the website.

  • Meet with Audacity Editors to add episode summaries to website.

  • Meet with Ambassadors to add research, data, and updates to the website.

  • Meet with Partners Relations to add community-partner bios.


  • Write daily objective based on previous day’s notes.

  • Check-in with each role and summarize goals & tasks

  • Transcribe interviews. 


Industry Leaders & Community partners 

George Sibley

Author of the book Water Wranglers, Sibley tells the 75-year history of the Colorado River District and how to protect the interests of the Colorado River basin. His goal is to defend local water interests in western CO- a region that produces 70% of the river's total water but only contains 10% of the state's population. Water Wranglers helps illustrate how to find a balance among the various entities competing for the use of the river's water. 

Don Morris

A long time Montezuma County farmer and rancher, Morris uses local water for irrigation. He believes in conserving water through effective irrigation practices. Morris is not afraid to fail or try something new, so he continually paves the way for other ranchers to conserve local water.

Jay Lochert

Outreach and education coordinator at Montezuma Land Conservancy, Lochert is committed to conserving special lands in our community. Lochert also advocates for conserving water through cover crops and sequestering carbon. 

Debra Wilcox

CEO of the 3D Printing Store in Denver, CO, Wilcox shares her knowledge of technology innovation with students across the state. Wilcox also values environmental conservation, and hopes to educate youth on how 3D printing might be used to enhance water treatment and hydroelectricity.

Eric Wilson

PhD student and CEO of the CPI group, Eric Wilson is partnering with Lockheed Martin and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) to engineer greenhouses on Mars. Astronauts on Mars need to farm their own food in order to be self-sufficient. Growing plants means utilizing valuable water that could be used for oxygen production, rocket fuel, or human consumption.

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