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Water Conservation

Teacher: Mrs Weller

Grade Level: 5th Grade
Subject: Science
Time Duration: 1.5 hours

a vessel capable of measuring 1 liter of water (beaker, graduated container, etc.)

graduated cylinders (in milliliter increments)
food coloring

CCSS Standards/NGSS:

Earth Sciences
3a. Students know most of Earths water is present as salt water in the oceans, which cover most
of Earths surface.
3d. Students know that the amount of fresh water located in rivers, lakes, underground sources,
and glaciers is limited and that its availability can be extended by recycling and decreasing the
use of water.
3e. Students know the origin of the water used by their local communities.
The teacher will show the class one liter of colored liquid (Kool-Aid). Tell the class that
this liquid represents all of the water in the entire world. The students will be split into six
groups. The teacher will explain to the students that this water must be divided among the
groups. Each group will have one source of water that must provide for all their needs. For
example, one group will get all of the water found in rivers, one will get all of the water that
exists as ice, etc. The teacher will assign one source of water to each group.

The teacher will ask the students, How much of this water do you think you will get?
The students will make predictions in their groups. The teacher will walk around and listen to the
students ideas.
Students work with one another to explore ideas through hands-on activities. Under the guidance
of the teacher, students clarify their own understanding of major concepts and skills.
The teacher will distribute the liquid to the groups one by one using the amounts listed below.
The teacher will measure out the portions into clear cups (so that the amount of water is easily
visible) and hand the cup to the group assigned to that source. As you hand the cup to the group,
tell them how much water it is, and write the amount on the board.

ice: 20.6 mL
groundwater: 9.0 mL
lakes: 0.08 mL
swamps: 0.01 mL (roughly 5 drops)
rivers: 0.002 mL (roughly 1 drop)

The last group receives the remainder of the water.

ocean: 970 mL
The teacher will congratulate this group on choosing a source that contains so much
water, BUT before the teacher hands it to them, she will dump a generous amount of salt into the
liquid. The teacher will explain that while the oceans contain most of the planets water, that
water is too salty for us to use.There are desalination processes that can remove the salt and
make the water drinkable, but these processes are expensive and use a lot of energy.
The teacher will discuss the numbers on the board again. She will explain that even
though there is a lot of water on the planet, only 3% of that is fresh water. 97% is found in the
oceans. That smaller amount of fresh water must support a growing population of people as well
as plants and animals. The teacher will tell the students that they can drink the liquid if they want
to, but must first decide how to discuss how they might share their part of the water.

The tell will ask the students to discuss how the water should be distributed fairly. The
teacher will explain that some groups have more water than others. Do they think that this is fair?
How could they solve this problem?
The teacher will lead a discussion on conserving water. Ask the students to discuss how
we could conserve water at home. The teacher will guide them to discuss turning off faucets
when brushing their teeth, ask their parents to buy low-flow showerheads, water lawns or
gardens at night to reduce evaporation, or use mulch in their gardens instead of grass, and only
use dishwashers and washing machines when they are fully loaded.
The students will create a poster encouraging people to conserve water. They should
include information about why it is important to conserve water as well as how people can do so
in their daily lives.

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