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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Clean Water for Everyone Today and Tomorrow with Good Food Choices

Lesson Description:
As a result of this lesson's activities, students will be able to:

  • Estimate and measure quantities of liquids using metric or english scales or by using containers of different relative sizes (e.g., liter bottles, trash cans, etc.)

  • Provide analogies through words and pictures of water usage for various tasks with the use of small swimming pools, one-liter water bottles, gallon jugs, or devices of their own choosing/creation.

  • Demonstrate using mud how common water pollutants (e.g., used motor oil, fertilizer applications to lawns or fields, manure spreading on cropland, discharged animal effluent into freshwater bodies, etc.), pollutes waterways.

  • Identify water as a natural resource which may be polluted by natural and human-caused processes.

  • Identify major sources of water pollution.

  • Identify dietary choices as a major factor in determining how much water is consumed by each person on a daily basis.

Teaching goals:
  • For young children to visualize ow much water is used to do everyday tasks and how much water is needed to grow common food items. 
  • To graphically illustrate for children how some human activities and how food production causes water pollution. 
  • To instill in children that water is a precious resource and should not be wasted.

Lesson Type:
  • Discussion
  • Experiment

Sustainability Topic:
  • Water

GEF Program Category:
  • Sustainable Water Challenge

Time Needed:
1-2 class periods
Standards Addressed:
National Science Content Standards* Correspondence:

ns.k-4.1 Science as inquiry as a result of activities in grades k-4, all students should develop:

-Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
-Understandings about scientific inquiry

ns.k-4.2 Physical science as a result of their activities in grades k-4, all students should develop understanding of:

-Properties of objects and materials
-Position and motion of objects

ns.k-4.3 Life science as a result of their activities in grades k-4, all students should develop understanding of:

-Organisms and environments

ns.k-4.5 Science and technology as a result of activities in grades k-4, all students should develop:

-Abilities of technological design
-Understandings about science and technology
-Abilities to distinguish between natural objects and objects made by humans

ns.k-4.6 Personal and social perspectives as a result of activities in grades k-4, all students should develop understanding of:

-Personal health
-Characteristics and changes in populations
-Types of resources
-Changes in environments
-Science and technology in local challenges
Materials Needed:
-Whiteboard and markers, overhead projector, or smart board
-One or more of the following: kiddie pool (borrowed from a parent); trash cans of known volume; gallon jugs (several); 1-liter water bottles (several)
-Duct tape
-Dirt and/or food dye
School or Group:
The Vegitarian Research Group
Contact Email:
Located in: Science

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Center for Green Schools