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Water and You

Objectives: Learn about household water usage and why water conservation is important.

Materials: faucet, measuring cup, timer or stopwatch, Every Drop Counts Student Worksheet 3, Water Sense and Cents Student Worksheet 4

Time Required: 40 minutes, plus homework time

Getting Started:

1. Working as a class, ask students to brainstorm and list all of the ways they use water in their daily lives. Ask: What sources do you think use the most water in your household? [Toilets use the most water (about 27%), followed by washing machines (22%) and showers (17%).] (Advanced classes: Make an Average Water Use chart using the data at www.drinktap.org/consumerdnn/Default.aspx?tabid=85.)

2. Turn on a faucet to a slow drip. Ask one student to collect the dripping water in a measuring cup while another student times how many minutes it takes to collect one ounce of water.

3. Help students calculate how much water a leaky faucet wastes over the course of one hour, one day, one week, and one year.

Using the Student Worksheets:

4. Distribute Every Drop Counts Student Worksheet 3 and read the introduction aloud. Ask students to take the worksheet home to complete the experiment as described.

5. After students have completed the experiment, discuss their results in class. (Advanced classes: Ask students to create pie charts or bar graphs to illustrate their personal water use.)

6. Ask: What changes can you make to have the biggest impact on your water use at home? What's your plan for making those changes?

7. Distribute Water Sense and Cents Student Worksheet 4 and read the instructions aloud. Give students time to complete the questions on their own, and then talk about their results. Calculate the math problems as a group with younger students.

8. Have a classroom discussion about the importance of conserving water. Encourage students to consider the value of water to our way of life, from growing food to fighting fires to bathing and drinking.

Make a Plan:
Assign students to teams and ask each team to design a school-wide plan for saving water. Remind students to consider all uses of water in the school: watering the grounds, cafeteria use, toilet use, etc. Ask each team to create a public awareness campaign for their plan to educate students throughout the school.

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