Lesson Eight: Water, Water Everywhere?
This lesson plan adapted from the resource located here.
Take special note that this lesson, in its existing form, is geared for older students. There are specific suggestions for how to adapt the lesson to meet the needs of a younger audience. While it was originally written for older students, the benefit of doing this activity is that your students will have a clearer understanding and new perspective of how they fit into the world’s use of water. These suggestions for adaptation are as follows:
- Summarize the article for your class (and change Hydrologic Cycle to Water Cycle if you feel that the students will be challenged by the alternate name).
- Shorten the survey to three days (extension activity).
Provide the definition of conservation, a brief overview of the Clean Water Act, and to review the stages of the water cycle prior to sharing the article summary.
Prior to performing the World of Water demonstration, explain to the students that the amounts of water are relative quantities and are not actual proportions or amounts.Download lesson as PDF
- To understand one’s relationship with water relative to the larger community
- This activity is best suited for whole class instruction and independent work.
- Depending on the amount of prior knowledge and reading level for your class, you may need to create a summary of the EPA article around which the focus of this lesson is built. Have the students read through the article/summary and write words or information that isn’t clear to them or that may hinder their success in understanding the following demonstration. It is important to address these learning obstacles prior to moving on to the demonstration.
- Work through the next steps of the investigation, the World of Water demonstration, encouraging the students to take notes in their journals about what they observe throughout the demonstration.
- Pour three gallons of water into the container and tell your class that this water represents all of the water in the world. In their journals, have the students jot down estimations of the percentages of how this water is distributed on the planet:
- Ice Caps/Glaciers
- Freshwater Lakes
- Inland Seas/Salt Lakes
- Next, remove 20 ounces of water from the container. Set this water aside and then color with food coloring the remaining water in the container. Pause here to ask the students this question: If the remaining water in the container represents the oceans of the world, what does the cup of water represent? Ask them to write their thoughts in their journals.
- Then, pour 15 ounces from the cup of water into another container. This water represents the water trapped in glaciers and ice caps. After explaining what this amount represents, ask the students the following question: Why is this water not left with the other fresh water? Ask them to explain their answer in their journals.
- For the final steps of this demonstration, share the following information with the class: The remaining five ounces of water in the measuring cup represent the world's available fresh water. Of this water, only a small percent of an ounce composes the world's freshwater lakes and rivers.
- Use an eyedropper to collect this water and place it into the palm of your hand. Then, explain that the water remaining in the measuring cup, after removing ice caps and glacier water and freshwater lakes and rivers (about 4.5 ounces), is groundwater. To demonstrate how groundwater is stored, pour this water into a cup of sand. This water is what is referred to as groundwater, and it is held in pore spaces of soil and cracks in bedrock. This is an eye-opening visual for the students. Ask them to write down their thoughts on the importance of conservation based on what they just observed through the demonstration.
- After completing the demonstration, have the students complete the World of Water sheet.
- Once all of the students have answered the questions, review the correct answers and have the students correct their own work. Then, ask them to compare those answers with their predictions from Step 3.
- After completing the comparison, have the students answer the following questions in their journals:
- Why isn't all fresh water usable?
- Why do we need to take care of the surface and ground water?
- Address the answers to these questions in a class discussion.
Assess for understanding by evaluating the way the students addressed the following tasks: Did the students carry out a thorough survey? Did they clearly demonstrate their level of understanding in their reflection? Students will self-evaluate their collaborative and procedural experiences by using a rubric such as this or one you create.
Lesson Plan Assets
- An offline, take-home activity by Planet H2O to allow an extension opportunity for the students to connect their experience with the World of Water demonstration to their lives – be sure to adapt the survey to reflect a younger audience by shortening the survey to three days
Project 2061 Benchmarks
- 5C/2 Most living things need food, water, and air.
- 11A/M1 A system can include processes as well as things.
- recording data
- Generation of Ideas