Water Classroom Project: Email 4

Presented by ePals and National Geographic
Email # 4


Email #4
The World?s Water Problems
Time:?Four 45-60 minute blocks on consecutive days

Classroom Instruction:
Day One:
Today students will learn the difference between fresh and saline water and its distribution on Earth, as well as the very small percentage that is available for human uses. Begin by engaging students in differentiating between fresh and saline water. Then, ask students what percentage of Earth?s water they think is fresh, and what percentage they think is saline. Finally, take some time to examine together online maps of our world?s water (and related graphs) to assist students in visualizing the quantities and understanding what a small amount of fresh water there is on Earth.

Then, discuss the term ?water usage? with students and spend some time interpreting maps, graphs and charts that give information about worldwide water usage by country. Start with these:
  • Why does water usage vary so greatly by location?


Day Two:
In all likelihood, your students have never struggled to obtain safe, fresh drinking water. They have always considered water a natural, limitless resource. Share with students the World Water Council's comments on why a right to water is necessary, and for many, unavailable. www.worldwatercouncil.org/index.php?id=1764. Provide students with the opportunity to react to this statement.

Discuss the term "water availability".

Then, invite them to research the questions:

  • What problems does the world face with its water supply?
  • Why is there unequal water distribution? (Find human and physical reasons.)
  • Which areas of the world are most effected by water shortages?
  • What are the effects on people who lack access to clean water?

Allow students to use online news sources, current periodicals, and appropriate websites to answer the questions.

You may want to assign individuals or groups topics to research such as: the right to water, the relationship between water pollution and disease, the impact of wars and natural disasters on water supply, international laws dealing with water, water scarcity, water stress, etc.

As students do their research, have them pay particular attention to the water information about their own local area as well as their ePal?s location. Discuss if the issues they uncover are similar or different. Have students hypothesize why the issues are similar or different.

Have students record their findings in journals. Invite students to write their most significant or most important findings out on note cards. Have students display their note cards on their desks. Allow students to go on a ?museum walk,??walking around the room reading each others? cards.


Day Three:
Today students will think about solutions for the world water crisis.

First, students need to see that there are different ways that people are working to impact the world water crisis. Show the video:http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/PeoplePlaces/Playpumps as an example of something being done to help people with water problems.

Ask students to brainstorm other viable solutions for increasing water availability to those most in need. Then, discuss how we with an abundance can conserve.


Writing Email:
Day Four:?
  1. Students respond to their ePals' comments and questions.
  2. Students ask their ePals questions and make comments about their ePals prior emails.
  3. Students have just learned about our worldwide water crisis. Students share with their ePals three new pieces of information that they have learned. Student should explain why they chose those three facts.
  4. Students discuss which of these facts specifically relate to their country or their ePals' country.