- Describe water, including its forms, sources, and the way it moves and is stored or consumed
- Identify as the main topic the universal significance of water in all parts of the world for all humans
- Examine and make inferences about photographs, and explain how the images to convey information
- Create a short fictional narrative based on one of the photographs from the text
- Conduct further reading about water sources, properties, cultures, conservation, and the water cycle
- Water-related/descriptive/action words: drinking, scooped, drawn, caught, drips, cool, stored, chilled, ice, squeezed, sipped, shared, everyone, everywhere
- Water sources/containers: river, well, roof, fountains, pumps, tap, clay pots, pitcher, buckets, brass pots, plastic jugs, caravan cans, bottle, burlap bag, tin cup
- Copies of A Cool Drink of Water by Barbara Kerley
- Whiteboard or chart paper and markers
- Projector or smart board
For Lesson Extensions
- Copies of CCSS-featured companion text, A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder by Walter Wick
- Optional: Venn Diagram printable
- Optional: Cloud Observation Form printable
Step 1: Share the cover, title, title page, and author of A Cool Drink of Water. Ask students to describe what they see on the cover and title page, and to predict what this book is about. Ask if they think the text is fiction or nonfiction.
Step 2: Read the book aloud while displaying the images on a smart board or projector. As you read, ask students what they notice about the images. Explain that these are photographs of real people and places, and that this is a nonfiction text. Have students point out the water in each image, and confirm any predictions.
Step 3: As you read, or after you are finished, have students help you gather and sort words (Vocabulary lists above): action words or adjectives describing how water moves, or is gathered and consumed; and nouns that are containers or sources where water is found or stored. Discuss the relationships among the words, and how the author uses nuanced words to describe slightly different characteristics of water. Discuss how it is gathered and stored, and how this affects how it is consumed (e.g., scooped, caught, drips, squeezed, sipped).
Step 4: Give each child or group a copy of the book and guide them in reading the text again. Then, have students choose a photograph to study. Tell them to look carefully at the details in the photograph to answer the following questions in writing. Allow groups to share their evidence-based answers and inferences.
Step 5: How would you describe the person or people in the photograph? How would you describe the setting? Are there any clues in the photograph that help you infer the type of setting, or the specific location?
Step 6: How is water being portrayed in this photograph? How would you describe the water? Why do you think the author chose certain words to describe water and its sources and containers?
Step 7: What information do the images tell you about water? What additional information do they convey?
Step 8: What is the main topic of this nonfiction text? (Water is needed by everyone in all parts of the world.) Which key details in the text support this main topic?
Step 9: Have students choose a photograph, individually or as a group, and write a short fictional narrative about the person(s), setting, and event(s) surrounding the image. Guide them in crafting a beginning, middle, and end using transitional words. Encourage them to make water a key part of the story, and to explain how the setting affects the character(s) and plot. Explain the difference between a photograph of a real person and place, and a fictional story based on that photograph. Display each photograph and have students share their stories.
Differentiation: Create a story together based on a photograph, practicing how to develop a beginning, middle, and end using transitional words. You may assign various extension activities to different groups of students by ability.
A Cool Drink Around the World
Read sections of or the entirety of this afterword at the end of the book. Point out on the map some of the locations of the photographs, and review particular details. Have students see if they were correct in their inferences about some of the types of settings and specific locations in the photographs. You may choose to review some of the vocabulary below, creating words clouds for each category.
Proper nouns (locations/landmarks/events): Tidore Island, Indonesia; Rocky Mountains, Canada; Aran Islands, Galway, Ireland; Rome, Italy; Fontana della Barcaccia, Fountain of a Boat; Zambezi River, Zambia; Agra, India; Taj Mahal; Yamuna River; Pokhara, Nepal; Kanye, Botswana; Phai Sali, Thailand; Gujarat State, India; Simpson Desert, Australia; Anna Creek Cattle Station; Prey Char, Cambodia; Bahlah, Oman; Des Moines, Iowa; USA; Mississippi River; Skookum Gulch, Oregon; Klamath Mountains; Monaco; Takoma Park, Maryland; Thar Desert; Cuzco, Peru; Inca Empire; Huatanay River; Tullumayo River; Lugu Lake, Yunnan Province, China; Arizona-Utah Border; Upper Water Holes Canyon; St. Petersburg, Florida
Water-related words: reflection, pool, thirsty, sip, tropical rainforest, rainfall, glacier, frosty, refreshment, melting snow, flow, lakes, hauls, collects, groundwater, toting, basket, fish, scoops, supply, monsoon, season, rainwater, gutter, pipe, pumping, pulling, pump, handle, spigot, gather, underground, dripping, celebration, pond, desalination, seawater, floodwater, treatment system, ice cubes, caravan, jerry cans, drawing, canals, channel, hydrated,
A Note on Water Conservation: Read this last part of the book together, which includes information about the water cycle, clouds, and water as a renewable resource. Discuss ways your class can help conserve water. You may choose to review some of the vocabulary listed below, creating word clouds for the categories.
Water-related words: watery planet, undrinkable, fresh, glaciers, polar ices sheets, jug, renewable resource, recycles, ocean, evaporates, atmospheric, holding tanks, clouds, rain, replenishes, lakes, rivers, groundwater, sources, human body, supply, limited, need, polluting, dwindling, demand, impure, shortages, transporting, expensive, aqueduct, river systems, watershed conservation, deep-ocean, research, scarcity, agriculture, bathroom, faucet, low-flow showerheads, toilets, bathwater, graywater
Measurement/math words: three-quarters, 97 percent, three percent, two-thirds, one percent, volume, tablespoonful, gallon, 70 percent, eight glasses a day, twice, rate, low-flow
Proper nouns (locations/projects): Earth, National Geographic Society, North America, United Nations, New York City, Sustainable Seas Expeditions, National Marine Sanctuaries, Reefs at Risk, Committee for Research and Exploration
As a companion text, read A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder by Walter Wick (featured as a complex informational text in the CCSS). Discuss how the two texts are similar and how they are different. Have students closely study a photograph from this text and describe it in detail and compare it to a photograph in the other text. Use a Venn diagram to guide the compare and contrast.
Discuss water as a renewable resource, and ways we can conserve this universal need. Research the stages of the water cycle — evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. You may also wish to add the process of plant transpiration, included in this StudyJams! video about the water cycle. Discuss the three states of matter. You can use this StudyJams! video about Solids, Liquids, and Gases to begin the discussion. List examples of water in each state: solid (snow, ice, frost; crystals); liquid (rain, bodies of water, clouds); and gas (steam, vapor). Conduct some experiments to show the different properties of water, e.g., water tension. Do more research to learn about the different types of clouds, then observe and record them. To guide your students' observations, make a class set of the Cloud Observation Form printable form them to complete.
Make a list together of all of the mathematical and/or measurement words in the text and afterword (See vocabulary list above). Make a graph or other visual representation to show how much of the earth is covered in water, and how much of that water is drinkable. Make a similar graph to show how much of the human body is composed of water. If you conduct research about average annual rainfall in some locations, create a graph to show this.
Have children research the aqueducts that carry water into New York City. Have them research to find out what other cities receive their water in this way. Discuss the original aqueducts of ancient Rome, and how important water was to this culture centered around bathhouses, fountains, and indoor plumbing. Research other water carriers, such as canals. Discuss why ice cubes are considered a luxury in many other parts of the world.
Choose a specific location (or assign one to each group) and research the area in more detail to find out the average annual rainfall, the sources of water, the storage methods, how these affect the culture, etc. Compare and contrast two areas, perhaps including your school’s location.
Using the vocabulary lists, have children group words into categories: water-related words (sources, storage methods, containers, measurement, etc.), action words, descriptive words, etc. Create word clouds and add to them. You may also include some words children used in their answers or narratives.
Have children write a short report about something they have learned about water from the text(s) or from their research. Reports may include a graph or drawing. Children may also respond to one of the following writing prompts:
- Why have civilizations throughout history developed near rivers and other bodies of water?
- Why do you think ice-cubes are considered a luxury in many parts of the world?
- Why is water conservation important? What are some ways you can conserve water at home and school?
Select a poem about water to read to children from the collection Pick a Poem or another source. Have children write short poems about water.
Art and Photography
Have children draw a picture of people gathering, carrying, storing, or drinking water. They may also draw a source of water — such as a lake, a well, or a river — or illustrate the stages of the water cycle. If possible, have children take photographs of water to show particular properties or sources and containers, and have them share the images with the class.
Play some relaxing music while children are reading and working, including water sounds.
Have children act out gathering, carrying, storing, and drinking water. Have the class guess the source of the water and the type of container.
Featured 2–3 ELA Common Core State Standards
- RI.2.7/RI.3.7: Explain how specific images contribute to and clarify a text; use information gained from illustrations and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
- W.2.3/W.3.3: Write narratives in which they recount a well elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure; write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
- SL.2.4/SL.3.4: Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences; report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
- L.2.5/L.3.5: Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.