Water Quantity

It may be tricky for a young mind to conceptualize that less than 1% of all water on earth is useable for humans to drink. Simulating the amount of fresh water available on earth by removing measured amounts of water from a five-gallon bucket helps learners visualize and appreciate the reality of our planet's water supply. They learn how much of the total water comes from different types of reservoirs—oceans, glaciers, groundwater, etc. Using calculations provided, pupils fill out a worksheet to discover how much water their bodies will need in their life time and realize—with the rapidly growing human population—the importance of maintaining earth's sources of fresh water

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Instructional Ideas

  • Add opportunity for more class involvement before the start of the demonstration; provide containers, preferably clear, of differing sizes and place them next to the bucket of water. Ask a few learners to come up and scoop water into the various containers to represent their guess measurements of freshwater, saltwater, glaciers, and any other kinds of water they can name
  • Using their worksheet answers, have class members make a visual representation of the amount of water needed by the human population as it grows compared to the fixed amount available on earth, to take home and share with their families
Classroom Considerations

  • Review the water cycle as an introduction
  • Expect spills or splashes and have towels ready, especially to keep the floor dry and safe
Pros

  • Use as a stand-alone lesson or combine with other Teaching Great Lakes Science curriculum which include classroom activities, background information, extension ideas, and standards correlation
Cons

  • None