Warm-up: How much water do you use a day?
- Begin by discussing with students how they use water in their daily lives. Have them list the things that they use water for and write them on the board as they are mentioned (wash hands, brush teeth, water the plants, take a shower, do the dishes, drink water, flush toilet, do laundry, fill fishtank, water lawn, cooking, cleaning, etc.).
- Also ask students to name other places besides their home where water is used. Have them think about how they are connected to those places (i.e. farmers water crops and animals for their food, coal plants use it to create energy, sanitation plants use it to create clean tap water, factories use water manufacturing and cooling, etc.)
Activity One: Discovering the Scarcity of Water
- Use the pie chart in Reproducible #1- How Much of Earth’s Water Can We Use? to explain to students how little of Earth’s water is available for human use. (97% is salt water, 2% is fresh water trapped in glaciers and less then 1% is available fresh water). Use a projector, or print at least one copy per table so everyone can see.
- Talk with students about the importance of conserving water since the entire world needs to share the small amount available. Emphasize that it is important not to waste water because there is a limited amount available and we do not want to run out.
Activity Two: Making a Group Pledge
- Have a discussion with students about what they can do to conserve water. Brainstorm in general, or refer to the water uses listed previously on the board and try to think of one way to reduce for each use (turn off the faucet while brushing teeth, water plants with water left over from cooking, take shorter showers or take baths instead of showers, etc.)
- Using the large paper banner, have students think of a pledge that they all want to make together concerning their water use. This could be very broad such as, “We pledge to use less water at home and school," or it could be specific such as, “We pledge to turn off the water when we brush our teeth.” Write the pledge in the center of the banner.
- Have each student either trace, paint, or cut out and paste a copy of their hand and have them write or sign their name on/next to their handprints on the pledge banner. Hang it in the hallway so other classrooms can see and learn from it.
Activity Three: Creating a Personal Reminder
- Pass out a jar to each student and place all craft materials out for them to use.
- Explain that the jar will be used as a toothbrush holder to be placed next to the sink as an everyday reminder to turn off the water when not in use. Have them decorate the jar with the craft materials, focusing on water as their inspiration. They should create something that will remind them to turn off the faucet when not in use.
- To test students’ understanding, ask them why water is so scarce and why it is important to conserve it. Discuss with them ways that they are going to go home that night and use less water. Also encourage them to share their ideas with their family members and to show them their new toothbrush holder.
Extension: Spreading the Word
As an extension activity, have students create posters about water conservation that encourage other students not to waste and place them around the school (in other classrooms, in the bathroom, in the cafeteria, near the drinking fountains, etc.). They can also visit other classrooms and encourage them to make a pledge banner like they did, hanging it up in the hallway for everyone to see.
Through the use of creativity and art, students will learn about the scarcity of water and why it is important to conserve, and will remind themselves to do this at home. They will also learn how they can conserve water in their own homes and encourage others to do the same.