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  • 1. Ana PerezLesson plan6th - 8th Grade Water ConservationOverviewAlthough over 70% of Earths surface is covered with water, less than 1% of this water isavailable for human consumption. In this lesson, students study the availability of water onEarth and discuss methods that can be used to purify and conserve this critical resource.They also assess how much water they and their families typically use, and think aboutways to reduce their water usage. Finally, students explore different techniques beingemployed for water management around the world, including the use of dams to createreservoirs.ObjectivesIdentify sources of fresh water available for consumptionUnderstand the need for water conservation due to the limited fresh water supplyExplore strategies for conserving water at homeCompare the benefits and drawbacks of using different water management techniques,particularly damsSuggested TimeTwo to three class periodsCalifornia Standards3.1 students describe the physical and human geography and use maps, tables, graphs,photographs and charts to organize information about people, places and environments ina spatial context
  • 2. 1.Trace the ways in which people have used the resources of the local region and modifiedthe physical environment (e.g., a dam constructed upstream changed a river or coastlineNational geographic standardsEnvironment and Society14. How human actions modify the physical environment.15. How physical systems affect human systems.16. The changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.Multimedia ResourcesGlobal Water Distribution Flash InteractiveWater Treatment Plant QuickTime VideoConserving Water at Home QuickTime VideoWater Conservation: Israel QuickTime VideoWater Conservation: Mexico QuickTime VideoWater Conservation: Denver, CO QuickTime VideoMaterialsTwo 2-liter bottles full of waterFood coloring (dark color preferable)Measuring cups (for measuring amounts ranging from 50 ml to 14.5 ml)Five clear containers (to hold water ranging in volume from 1,950 ml to 0.5 ml)Markers and tape for making labelsMap of your local watershed (http://cfpub.epa.gov/surf/huc.cfm?huc_code=18100200 )Water Use Worksheet PDF DocumentNotebooks for student workBefore the Lesson
  • 3. Fill two 2-liter bottles with water. Add enough food coloring so that the water is visiblefrom all seats in the classroom.Prepare to lead the class in a discussion about your local watershed by researching thefollowing:How does water get to the school? (Where does it originate? What path does it travel?)How is the water managed along the way?How is the water treated once it leaves your school as wastewater?Where are the water treatment plants?Are there any dams? If so, where are they located?The LessonPart I: How Much Water Do We Really Have?1. Tell students that you would like them to think about the answer to this question: Whatpercentage of Earths water is available for human consumption? Ask students to writedown their answers. You may want to remind students to consider what they know aboutoceans and about the type of water that is considered usable by people.2. Ask a volunteer to demonstrate his or her answer to the question. Give the student a 2-liter bottle filled with colored water and a clear, empty container. Tell the class that thebottle represents all of the water on Earth. Ask the volunteer to pour into the emptycontainer the amount of water that he or she thinks represents the percentage of Earthswater available for human use. (Provide the student with a measuring cup if needed.) Thenask the class to make suggestions about whether more or less water needs to be in thecontainer. Have the volunteer adjust the amount until there is a general consensus amongthe students. Put the class estimate (the clear container with water) aside.3. Tell students that you will now demonstrate the amount of water on Earth that isavailable for human consumption.Show students the second 2-liter bottle filled with colored water. Tell them that this bottleagain represents all of the water on Earth. Measure out 1,950 ml of the water and pour it
  • 4. into a clear, empty container. Label the container SALT WATER. Tell students that thisrepresents how much of our planets water is found in oceans — 97%.Pour the remaining 50 ml from the bottle into another container, and tell students that thisrepresents the amount of fresh water on Earth — 3%. Label this container FRESH WATER.Ask students to guess what percentage of fresh water is available for human use.Note: You may also want to place a fresh water sign on the table at this time. As you pouroff additional amounts of water in steps c-d, you can place the new containers near thefresh water sign to remind students that each one is part of the "fresh water" category.Measure 35 ml of the fresh water into another container. Label the container ICE CAPS. Tellstudents that this water is frozen in ice caps, so it is not available for our use!Now measure 14.5 ml of the fresh water into another container. Label the container AIR,SOIL, AND UNDERGROUND. Tell them sorry, but this water is found in the air, in the soil,and deep underground, so its also not available for human use!There should be about 0.5 ml of water left in the fresh water container. (Note that this isjust under two drops of water!) Hold this up and explain that this represents all of the freshwater available for human use. Less than 1% of all water on Earth is available forconsumption!Show students the Global Water Distribution Flash Interactive to reinforce the data behindthe demonstration.4. Divide the class into small groups and ask them to discuss what they just witnessed inyour demonstration and in the interactive activity. (You may want to review the termsrenewable resource and nonrenewable resource as a class before placing students intotheir groups.) Have students answer the following questions during their small-groupdiscussions:Where is usable water located?Is this water a renewable resource?5. Bring the class back together and ask student groups to share some of their ideas.Conclude by reminding students that water is necessary for life and thus important toconserve and maintain so that it stays available for human consumption, as well as forconsumption by plants and animals, which people use for food.
  • 5. Part II: Where Does Your Water Come From?6. Watch the Water Treatment Plant QuickTime Video and discuss the methods used topurify water for human consumption. Ask students the following questions:Why is it important to treat the water before sending it to homes?What do you think the brown sludge is made of? What other things do you think areremoved from water to make it safe for drinking?7. Show the map of your local watershed. Help students trace the path of water to theirschool. Discuss the following questions:Where does the water originate and how is it managed along the way?How is the water treated after it leaves the school as wastewater?Where do you think the water treatment plants are located?Part III: How Much Water Do You Use Per Day?8. Distribute the Water Use Worksheet PDF Document, and ask students to estimate theamount of water that they and their families typically use in a week.9. Watch the Conserving Water at Home QuickTime Video. Discuss water conservationtechniques that people can use to decrease the waste and pollution of our water resources.Consider the following questions:An average family uses about 300 gallons of water per day. What are some of the best waysto conserve water?What is "gray water" and how can it be used to help conserve water?What is Xeriscape landscaping and how can it help conserve water?
  • 6. 10. Divide the class into small groups again and ask them to brainstorm ways that they andtheir families can conserve water. After the small-group discussions, bring the class backtogether and ask each group to share their top three ideas with the class.Part IV: Managing the Water Supply11. Increases in population and industrial growth are straining water resources around theworld and making the need for water management more urgent. Show students the WaterConservation: Israel QuickTime Video and the Water Conservation: Mexico QuickTimeVideo. Discuss the following questions:What water problems are faced by Israel? By Mexico?What water conservation techniques does each country use?What are some unanticipated consequences of each of these techniques?12. Divide the classroom into two groups. Assign one group to develop arguments insupport of the use of dams to manage water for large cities. Assign the other group todevelop arguments against it. Show the Water Conservation: Denver, CO QuickTime Video,and then have the two groups debate the pros and cons of using dams.13. Show the class the local watershed map again and label the location of any dams in thearea. Discuss the following questions:How might the dams be changing the natural environment in this area?What conservation techniques can be used to help the natural ecosystem survivepopulation increases?ExtensionInvite a guest speaker from the local water conservation department to come to your classand provide detailed information about the process of getting water to students homesand school, the use of dams and/or reservoirs for water storage, whether or not gray wateris collected and reused in the area, etc.Check for Understanding
  • 7. Have each student write an article or editorial discussing his or her ideas about one of thefollowing topics. Let students know that they will need to support their ideas usinginformation they learned from the multimedia resources. You may also want to encouragestudents to conduct additional research online and/or seek out individuals in thecommunity to interview about local efforts regarding their chosen topic. (Note: You canhave students submit their pieces to a school or other newspaper.)Importance of conserving water and techniques for reducing water use at homePositive and negative effects of dams and techniques that big cities can implement toeliminate the need for damsFollow up activity: students will go to Diamond Valley Lake to understand the conceptthey have been learning for the pass week. They will take pictures of their interest and theywill put it in their notebook with a small summary for five pictures of their choice.

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