Lesson Plan

Exploring Available Freshwater

Students will investigate the availability of freshwater worldwide and ways to conserve it.
Barbara H.
Education Program Manager, Mid-Atlantic/D.C. Metro Area - Common Sense Education
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Students will be able to identify the amount of available freshwater worldwide.

Students will calculate their water usage and investigate ways to conserve it.  

Students will critically think in groups and map out ways that a community can conserve water.  

Health & Wellness
Grades 6 - 9
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 1. Engage - Watch a Video on the Availability of Water

1.  Flip your classroom by creating an interactive video in EDpuzzle to begin your lesson.  Create a class in EDpuzzle and add an assignment in EDpuzzle by importing a video.  For this assignment I used a video from TED ED on the availability of water.   I had students watch this video and answer some questions about the content through while the video was playing to check for their understanding.  

2 2. Explore - Calculate and Model Where the Freshwater is.

Activity: Investigating

At another station have some data available for the students to calculate the amount of freshwater that is on Earth. Include information on the amount of water that is frozen, under ground and at the surface. Set up 4 beakers and a graduated cylinder at the lab table for the student groups to use their calculations to model the amount of freshwater in each category. This will give them a visual that water may seem abundant but freshwater is actually a very limited resource.

Student Instructions

 CALCULATE THE FOLLOWING (Using the Data you provided to them or you can have them look it up):

1.  What percentage of the world’s water is fresh?

2.  What percentage of the Earth's  Freshwater is:

      A.  Frozen in Glacier or Icesheets - 

      B.  Groundwater - 

      C.  At the Surface (Lakes, Rivers, Etc.) -


Hands-on Activity

1.  Use the numbers you calculated to set up a physical demonstration of where Earth's water is. 

2.  Use the 1000 mL beaker to represent all of Earth's water.

3.  Calculate the volumes that would represent fresh water, frozen water, groundwater, and surface water. 

4.  Go to the lab table next to you to complete this.  


3 3. Explain - How abundant is freshwater?

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Have students create a new "sticky" with their name explaining how much freshwater is available for human use based on what they saw in the video and what they calculated and demonstrated on their lab tables.  Have them elaborate on why water is important and what they might be able to do to conserve it.  

4 4. Elaborate - Calculate your Water Usage

Have students calculate their water usage by using a calculator by National Geographic:


This interactive will take the students through the different activities that they may do through out the course of a week and how much water they use.      

Students will also see how their water usage compares to the US average and will see their scores at the end and what categories they used the most water in.  






Student Instructions

Calculate your Water Usage or Footprint by accessing the following link:


Take a screenshot of your water usage averages at the end so you can use the data to complete the next step in this assignment. 


5 5. Evaluate - Your water usage as a group and list ways to conserve water in the future.

Have students work in a group to create a popplet mapping out their daily activities and ways to modify their behaviors to conserve freshwater.  

Popplet is a great way to have all students in the group working on the same graphic organizer.  Make sure that all students are participating evenly and have each student contribute a way to modify their behavior to consever water for each activity:   Home, Energy, Diet, Stuff (From the National Geographic Water Footprint Calculator.)