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Lesson Title: The Life Cycle of a Water Molecule

Course: SVN3E
Grade: 11, University/College Preparation
Strand: E. Reducing and Managing Waste
Time: 75
Materials: For group of 30
● 5L bowls
● 4L bowl
● 3L bowls
● Water molecules (6 blue shirts)
● Chemicals (6 red shirts)
● Water body microbes (6 brown shirts)
● Consumers (4 green shirts)
● Consumer microbes (4 black shirts)
● Consumer chemicals (4 yellow shirts)
● Green and red balls
● 5 buckets
● Rope
● Signs to designate stations
● Bare Point Water Treatment Plant document
● Water Pollution Control Plant Process Description
BIG Question: Where does our water go?
Ontario Curricular Overall Expectations:
E2. investigate the effectiveness of various waste management practices;
Ontario Curricular Specific Expectations:
E2.1 use appropriate terminology related to waste management, including, but not
limited to: solid, liquid, and gaseous waste; toxic waste; heavy metal; chlorinated
hydrocarbons; and polychlorinated biphenyls
E2.3 use a research process to investigate the waste generated throughout the life cycle
of a product
Learning Goals: Students will…
● Understand how the water and sewage treatment cycle works
● Understand the role chemicals play in this cycle
● Understand the strengths and limitations of this cycle
● Understand the role chlorination plays in this cycle
Key Words: solid, liquid, and gaseous waste; toxic waste; heavy metal; chlorinated
hydrocarbons; and polychlorinated biphenyls; microbes; chlorine.
Cross Curricular: Biology, Chemistry, Physical Education
Success Criteria & Achievement: I can…
● Identify key aspects of water and sewage treatment cycle - Knowledge
● Explain why we have treatment systems in place - Understanding
● Predict how our water treatment may change in the future - Understanding
● Demonstrate water transportation through active participation - Application
● Define key terms - Knowledge
Lesson Structure:
Teacher Role

Introduction/ ● Show a 5L bowl and 3L bowl and outline that you need exactly 4L
Ice Breaker of water. Without touching the materials, have students
brainstorm possibilities.
● Have yourself or one student demonstrate methods (trial & error)
● *Answer* Fill the 5-liter bowl and pour water to the 3-liter bowl,
which you empty afterwards. From the 5-liter bowl pour the 2
remaining liters to the 3-liter bowl. Refill the 5-liter bowl and fill in
the 3-liter bowl (with 1 liter), so there stay the 4 required liters in
the 5-liter bowl.

Body ● Peeing into the Drinking Water: Journey of the Water Molecule
macromodel will be set up prior to the start of class.
● After the icebreaker, students will be lead to area where the
macromodel is set up. Here they will be asked to find a t-shirt, put
it on and stay in the area where the found th shirt.
● 6 H O, 6 chemicals, and 6 water body microbes start in the body
of water
● 4 consumers, 4 consumer microbes, and 4 consumer chemicals
start in the consumer area.
● To start, the teacher begins to explain the process and rules of
the game as students move in correspondence with the
● 1. Water Treatment Plant:
○ a/-H20 molecules and Chemicals are linked by arms and
go through the water treatment gates -the Water Body
Microbes cannot make it through the gates and thus let go
of the H20 molecule and stay wandering in the lake (they
cannot go outside this area). b/ H20 and Chemicals pick
up a chlorine ball (green) from a bucket during chlorination
as they exit the water treatment plant and then enter the
Consumer area.
● 2. Consumer Area:
○ a/ Once the H20/Chemicals is in the Consumer Area, The
Consumer Chemical (coming food, beverage and additives
chases a H20 and gives them a red ball from a bucket one
at a time. The Consumer Chemical must stay inside the
Consumer Area. b/ The H20 and chemicals chase a
consumer and when they catch one, they pass the
chlorine (green) ball to the Consumer representing the
illnesses that the chlorine from water might cause (by
ingesting and the red ball representing the build up of
other chemicals over). c/ The Consumer Microbe chases a
Consumer and links an arm with them. These microbes
come from the food and beverage the Consumer ingests
as well as within the human body d/ When the H20
catches the Consumer, the Consumer Microbe lets go of
the Consumer (this represents elimination) and links up
with the H20 and Chemicals e/ The Consumer tries to
avoid all the H20 and Consumer Microbe. Once caught,
they must accept the balls they are given f/ The Consumer
must always carry the balls they receive and remain in the
area as the H20 passes through them
● 3. Sewage Treatment Plant
○ a/ After exiting the Consumer Area, The H20, Chemicals
and Consumer Microbes run to the Sewage Treatment
Plant (this represents the elimination of the human
byproducts (solids and urine). b/ The Consumer Microbes
cannot make it through the exit gate and thus must let go
of the threesome (they return to the Consumer area and
keep playing, although in reality this would not happen) c/
The H20 molecule picks up a chorine ball (green) from a
bucket on exit from the plant.
● 4. Effluent (body of water):
○ a/ The H20 (treated water/Effluent) and Chemicals run arm
in arm into the body of water (area where effluent is
directed). b/ The H20 can deposit the chlorine in a bucket
in the body of water (chlorine would become diluted) c/
The Chemicals pick up a red ball from a bucket in this area
representing chemicals which will later be given to the
Consumer d/ The Water Body Microbe chases a H20 and
links up with it e/ All three run to the Water Treatment
Plant where the cycle starts all over.
● Starting Point (in reality, there is no real starting point)
○ l. The Chemicals and Water Body Microbes begin in the
body of water area. 2. The H2O ules are sent into the body
of water area from the Sewage Treatment Plant and are
immediately attacked by the Chemicals and Microbes can
only attack one molecule per cycle). The H20 try to avoid
the other players. Once caught, they must join up willingly
with the Chemicals and Microbes. 3. Consumers begin in
the Consumer area 4. Consumer Microbes begin in the
Consumer area 5. Consumer Chemicals begin in the
Consumer area
Participants will be given the opportunity to view this process from
different perspectives. Students will be instructed to change tshirts/roles
after completing the macromodel

Debrief ● Retrace the cycle that a water molecule follows during the water
and sewage treatment.
○ Drawing on student experiences from the macromodel, the
Bare Point Water Treatment Plant document (attached),
and Water Pollution Control Plant document (attached),
students will, in their own words, explicitly outline the life
cycle of a water molecule from the time it enters the toilet
○ Discuss this process as a class while the teacher writes
each step on the board.
○ Students will be prompted to record theses steps in their
own notes.

Students with IEPs will be considered through suggested accommodations:
● Partner student with a scribe who will share notes
● Steps that would normally be written on the board are typed by teacher and handed out
to students
● Teacher participates in the macromodel (lead by example) to clarify roles and procedure
Career Links: Resource management, conservation, water technician, waste treatment
Diagnostic Assessment:
● WUBS Macromodel
● Field trip to Bare Point Water Treatment Plant
● Field trip to Water Pollution Control Plant
Next Lesson: Assess local water management, Sustainable living, Energy sources

City of Thunder Bay. (2007). Bare Point Water Treatment Plant
City of Thunder Bay. (2011). Water Pollution Control Plant Process Description
Puk, T.G. (2017). Healing the Ecological Self: STOP Peeing In The Drinking Water