All the Water in the World!

Our 5th grade students have been learning all about water this fall!

 We played a game called “The Water Flows” and learned some startling facts about water consumption:


Then we learned just how little of the water on Earth is available for drinking water and other water needs.

Our 5 gallon bucket full of water represented all of the water on Earth.  We removed 18 ounces and learned that the remaining water in the bucket represented the amount of water in oceans.  Wow!


Next, we poured 15 of these 18 ounces into an ice cube tray.  This represented the amount of water held in glaciers and ice caps.


We were left with only 3 ounces of water, which represented the amount of fresh water on Earth!

The students then had a chance to visit some of the locations on Earth where water is found by pretending to be water molecules traveling through the water cycle.


Groups of three (one oxygen atom and two hydrogens!) bounced from location to location in the garden- destinations were determined by a roll of the die!


They evaporated, condensed and precipitated as they traveled from location to location…


…and recorded the journey as they went.

The students tracked the number of times their water molecules traveled to each location and discovered that the class of water molecules was most often found in the ocean or atmosphere– consistent with what we learned in our previous demonstration!

At the end of the lesson we discussed ways to conserve water and discovered that AFY 5th graders are already off to a great start- over 90% already turn off the water while brushing their teeth!  Pretty impressive!

We concluded our water unit by constructing watersheds.


The students made a wax paper landscape with mountains and valleys, and labeled ridge lines, bodies of water and human settlements.  They then observed what happened when “rain” fell on their landscapes.


The students observed the path of the water as it fell over human settlements, squealing “Eew!” and “Gross!” as pollutants were added to the ocean through urban runoff.

We all agreed to do our best to protect San Francisco Bay’s Watershed, and then learned how to make an easy model of it.  It’s in your hands!

SF Bay Watershed in your hands copy 2

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