For Teachers – Classroom Facts, Activities & Resources
Here are six of the many ways we can all conserve and protect our water.
1. Drink the water from the faucet and drinking fountain,and use reusable water bottles instead of buying plastic bottled water.
2. Keep the water clean/ don’t litter/ recycle
3. Save water in the garden ~ Plant native plants/ don’t overwater/ water early or late, not the hottest part of the day
4. Use Water saving devices ~ low flow shower head/ hose sprayer/ faucet aerators
5. Be a water detective ~ Get leaks fixed inside and outHow to check your toilet for leaks: Lift off the toilet tank lid. Place one dye strip/tablet (or 5 drops of food coloring) in the toilet tank. (Use a dark color such as blue or red instead of yellow.) Wait 30 minutes. If water in the bowl turns that color, you have a toilet leak.
6. Whenever you’re not using the faucet, remember to turn it off
H20 Show Facts & Activities
- Every plant, animal and person needs water to live. A person can live more than a month without food, but less than a week without water. Our bodies are made of 70-75%water. Water helps us to digest food, cool our bodies, remove wastes, and clean our eyes. We need to drink 8-10 glasses of water every day to stay healthy.
- 72% of the Earth is covered in water. Over 97% of the Earth’s water is in the oceans, and 2% of the Earth’s water is stored in glaciers and ice caps. That leaves less that 1% of the Earth’s water available for humans to use.
- Every day in the United States we drink about 110 million gallons of water.
- The water we drink is purified, or cleaned, before it comes through our taps.
- An average family of four in the U.S. uses 881 gallons of water per week just by flushing the toilet.
- You use about five gallons of water if you leave the water on when brushing your teeth.
- The average person in the United States uses over 100 gallons of water each day
WATER CYCLE FACTS
Fresh water is continually recycled through the land, rivers, lakes, seas and air. The water on Earth today is the same water that’s been around since the dinosaur’s time, and the same water that will always be here. Surface water evaporates from the sun’s heat and becomes water vapor in the atmosphere. After condensation, it then falls back to the Earth as rain or snow and the cycle begins again.
Evaporation: The process that changes water (a liquid) into water vapor (a gas).
Condensation: The process that changes water vapor (a gas) into water (a liquid).
Precipitation: Water from the atmosphere that falls to the ground as rain, snow, sleet or hail.
- How Much Water Does it Take?
MAKE A WATER FILTER
Supplies: 1 coffee can per child or group, sand, muddy water
Help each child or group punch 5-10 small holes in the bottom of the can. Pour 3 inches of sand into the bottom of each can.
Observe the muddy water, then pour it over the sand. Collect the water coming out in a clean container.
Discuss what is observed about the water coming out of the filter compared to the water going in. How does this relate to the water we use every day?
MAKE A WATER CYCLE MODEL
Supplies: jar, plants, small dish of water (a bottle cap or shell will do), soil, sand, small rocks
Layer the jar with small rocks, then sand, then soil. The jar should be half filled. Add plants in the soil and dish of water in the jar.
Put the lid on, put the jar in a sunny place and watch the water cycle in action.
Other water cycle projects: make a class bulletin board, have students make pictures or posters, create activity sheets or word games, or have your students act out the water cycle.
TOP TEN LIST
Ask your students to list the top 10 water uses in and around their classroom and households. Write it on the board as a class project or have each child write their own. Now have them rank the list in order of importance. Discuss how much water each person and each family uses. Where do they use it? Encourage your students to do at least one thing each day that will result in a savings of water. Keep a class chart for a week or more of every time someone consciously uses water wisely. Remember, every drop counts!
BE A LEAK DETECTIVE
A leaky faucet can waste over 100 gallons of water a day! Go on an adventure around the school to find leaky faucets. First see if they just need to be turned off tighter. If they keep leaking, tell the custodian. Get special permission to enter the kitchen and staff restrooms as a class.
WATER CONSERVATION TIPSWhen you are not using the water, TURN IT OFF! Never put water down the drain when there may be another use for it, such as watering a plant or garden or cleaning. Turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth or washing your hands. Check for and repair leaky faucets and toilets. Take shorter showers. Use your dishwasher and washing machine only for full loads. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator so you don’t waste water getting it cold. Plant drought resistant trees and plants. Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks. Use a bucket and hose nozzle when washing your car. Water the lawn only when it needs it. If you step on the grass and it springs back up, it doesn’t need water. If it stays flat, it’s thirsty. Remember not to water if it’s raining or in the heat of the day! Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket.
California State Science Standards covered:
Kindergarten: 1b, 2a, 3a, 3c
Grade 1: 1a, 1b, 2b, 3c
Grade 2: 3d, 3e
Grade 3: 1a, 1e, 1f 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e
Grade 4: 2a 3a, 3b 5a, 5c
Grade 5: 2f 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e
Grade 6: 2a, 2b 6b, 6c
Grade 7: 3e
Grade 8: 2g, 3b, 3d
Physical Sciences 1b, 1c1. Properties of materials can be observed, measured, and predicted. As a basis for understanding this concept: b. Students know water can be a liquid or a solid and can be made to change back and forth from one form to the other. c. Students know water left in an open container evaporates (goes into the air) but water in a closed container does not.
Life Sciences 2a2. Different types of plants and animals inhabit the earth. As a basis for understanding this concept: a. Students know how to observe and describe similarities and differences in the appearance and behavior of plants and animals (e.g., seed-bearing plants, birds, fish, insects).
Earth Sciences 3a, 3c3.Earth is composed of land, air, and water. As a basis for understanding this concept: a. Students know characteristics of mountains, rivers, oceans, valleys, deserts, and local landforms. c. Students know how to identify resources from Earth that are used in everyday life and understand that many resources can be conserved.
Physical Sciences 1a, 1b1.Materials come in different forms (states), including solids, liquids, and gases. As a basis for understanding this concept: a.Students know solids, liquids, and gases have different properties. b.Students know the properties of substances can change when the substances are mixed, cooled, or heated.
Life Sciences 2b2.Plants and animals meet their needs in different ways. As a basis for understanding this concept: b.Students know both plants and animals need water, animals need food, and plants need light.
Earth Sciences 3c3.Weather can be observed, measured, and described. As a basis for understanding this concept: c.Students know the sun warms the land, air, and water.
Earth Sciences 3d, 3e3.Earth is made of materials that have distinct properties and provide resources for human activities. As a basis for understanding this concept: d.Students know that fossils provide evidence about the plants and animals that lived long ago and that scientists learn about the past history of Earth by studying fossils. e.Students know rock, water, plants, and soil provide many resources, including food, fuel, and building materials, that humans use.
Physical Sciences 1a, 1e, 1f1.Energy and matter have multiple forms and can be changed from one form to another. As a basis for understanding this concept: a. Students know energy comes from the Sun to Earth in the form of light. e. Students know matter has three forms: solid, liquid, and gas. f. Students know evaporation and melting are changes that occur when the objects are heated.
Life Sciences 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e3.Adaptations in physical structure or behavior may improve an organism’s chance for survival. As a basis for understanding this concept: b. Students know examples of diverse life forms in different environments, such as oceans, deserts, tundra, forests, grasslands, and wetlands. c. Students know living things cause changes in the environment in which they live: some of these changes are detrimental to the organism or other organisms, and some are beneficial. d. Students know when the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce; others die or move to new locations. e. Students know that some kinds of organisms that once lived on Earth have completely disappeared and that some of those resembled others that are alive today.
Life Sciences 2a, 3a2.All organisms need energy and matter to live and grow. As a basis for understanding this concept: a. Students know plants are the primary source of matter and energy entering most food chains. 3.Living organisms depend on one another and on their environment for survival. As a basis for understanding this concept: a.Students know ecosystems can be characterized by their living and nonliving components. b.Students know that in any particular environment, some kinds of plants and animals survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
Earth Sciences 5a, 5b, 5c5.Waves, wind, water, and ice shape and reshape Earth’s land surface. As a basis for understanding this concept: a.Students know some changes in the earth are due to slow processes, such as erosion, and some changes are due to rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. b.Students know natural processes, including freezing and thawing and the growth of roots, cause rocks to break down into smaller pieces. c.Students know moving water erodes landforms, reshaping the land by taking it away from some places and depositing it as pebbles, sand, silt, and mud in other places (weathering, transport, and deposition).
Life Sciences 2f2. Plants and animals have structures for respiration, digestion, waste disposal, and transport of materials. As a basis for understanding this concept: f. Students know plants use carbon dioxide (CO2) and energy from sunlight to build molecules of sugar and release oxygen.
Earth Sciences 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e 5a, 5b, 5c3. Water on Earth moves between the oceans and land through the processes of evaporation and condensation. As a basis for understanding this concept: a.Students know most of Earth’s water is present as salt water in the oceans, which cover most of Earth’s surface. b.Students know when liquid water evaporates, it turns into water vapor in the air and can reappear as a liquid when cooled or as a solid if cooled below the freezing point of water. c.Students know water vapor in the air moves from one place to another and can form fog or clouds, which are tiny droplets of water or ice, and can fall to Earth as rain, hail, sleet, or snow. d.Students know that the amount of fresh water located in rivers, lakes, under-ground sources, and glaciers is limited and that its availability can be extended by recycling and decreasing the use of water. e.Students know the origin of the water used by their local communities.
5.The solar system consists of planets and other bodies that orbit the Sun in predictable paths. As a basis for understanding this concept: a.Students know the Sun, an average star, is the central and largest body in the solar system and is composed primarily of hydrogen and helium. b.Students know the solar system includes the planet Earth, the Moon, the Sun, eight other planets and their satellites, and smaller objects, such as asteroids and comets. c.Students know the path of a planet around the Sun is due to the gravitational attraction between the Sun and the planet.
Earth Sciences 2a, 4a, 4b2. Topography is reshaped by the weathering of rock and soil and by the transportation and deposition of sediment. As a basis for understanding this concept: a. Students know water running downhill is the dominant process in shaping the landscape, including California’s landscape. 4. Many phenomena on Earth’s surface are affected by the transfer of energy through radiation and convection currents. As a basis for understanding this concept: a. Students know the sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on Earth’s surface; it powers winds, ocean currents, and the water cycle. b. Students know solar energy reaches Earth through radiation, mostly in the form of visible light.
Ecology (Life Sciences) 6a, 6b
6. Sources of energy and materials differ in amounts, distribution, usefulness, and the time required for their formation. As a basis for understanding this concept:a. Students know different natural energy and material resources, including air, soil, rocks, minerals, petroleum, fresh water, wildlife, and forests, and know how to classify them as renewable or nonrenewable. b. Students know the natural origin of the materials used to make common objects.
Focus on Life Science 3e3. Biological evolution accounts for the diversity of species developed through gradual processes over many generations. As a basis for understanding this concept: e. Students know that extinction of a species occurs when the environment changes and the adaptive characteristics of a species are insufficient for its survival.
Focus on Physical Science 2g, 3b, 3dg. Students know the role of gravity in forming and maintaining the shapes of planets, stars, and the solar system. Structure of Matter b. Students know that compounds are formed by combining two or more different elements and that compounds have properties that are different from their constituent elements. d. Students know the states of matter (solid, liquid, gas) depend on molecular motion.
EPA Waste Reduction & Recycling Curriculum & Activities
Numerous waste reduction and recycling curriculum and activities from the EPA, for grades K-12.
Greening Schools (from Illinois EPA and WMRC)
An extensive list of activities for Elementary and Middle School students that includes reducing trash at school and waste reduction, pollution prevention, and recycling tips.
Get involved in The Down the Drain Project from The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education. Free to participate. Activities and teacher guide for grades 4 to 8.“How much water do you use everyday in your home? Would you be surprised to learn that according to the USGS the average American uses between 80-100 gallons (approx. 300 – 375 liters) of water per day? Do you think people in other parts of the world use more or less water than Americans? Well, this collaborative project will help you find out the answers to these questions. By collecting data on water usage from people around the world you will be able to see how your water use compares to others and determine what you might do to use less water.” See more of CIESE’s collaborative projects here.
Water Lesson Plan for grades 6-10 from Discovery Education.
This environmental education program explains the water management cycle using a balanced approach showing how it affects all aspects of the environment.All activities contain hands-on investigations, fact sheets, reference materials, and a glossary of terms. Activities are organized by objectives, materials needed, background information, advance preparation, procedures, and resources.
Classroom activities for thinking about Water in The City, from The Franklin Institute.“In one kitchen, in one apartment, in one building, on one block, in one neighborhood, of one city, a young man goes to the faucet and fills a kettle with water. At the very same instant, thousands of other people in that same city may also be tapping into the water supply. How is it possible? Start brainstorming. Where can you find water in the city? Fountains? Rivers? Kitchen sinks? Puddles? Lakes? Swimming pools? Reservoirs? Sewers? Creeks? Rain? Now, think about this: how are all of the sources of water related? Throughout history, cities have survived or failed because of water. The water supply in a city is the vital lifeblood that keeps a city going. While the water supply is healthy, citizens take it for granted. If the supply is severely interrupted, the city will surely die.”