Students work in the ESY kitchen to bake a delicious treat of pear and apple crisp. Students recognize that this is their last garden after school class. They reflect on their time and share out a highlight from their time here. They also share plans for the Thanksgiving...
Drop in the Bucket
In this 6th grade science class, students consider how they use water in their daily lives and learn that it is a nonrenewable resource in a closed system.
After this lesson, students will be able to:
- Identify water as a nonrenewable resource in a closed system
- Understand how their water consumption choices impact the environment
During this lesson, students will:
- Define a closed system and determine that water is non renewable
- Connect their actions with water consumption while playing a game called The Wind Blows
- 1000ml beaker (or container of similar size)
- 3 clear containers of descending size (for example, 1 cup beaker, small glass, small bowl)
- Cards for The Wind Blows game
- Gather the details of your water collection system (if you have one)
- Collect all the materials
- Arrange the 4 containers in descending size
- Fill the 1000ml container with water
- Create the cards for The Wind Blows game
At the Opening Circle
- Welcome students and introduce water as a precious resource that is impacted by the choices we make everyday.
- Begin the drop in the bucket demonstration by inviting students to use their imagination and visualize the entire earth.
- Hold up the largest beaker of water (1000ml) and ask students to imagine that this beaker holds all of the water on planet earth. Ask where they would expect to see most of this water if they were looking down from outer space. Explain that most of the earth’s water is locked up in oceans and seas, which means about 97% of earth’s water is salt water.
- Pour out 30ml from the beaker into the next largest container, explaining that this represents the 3% of the Earth's water that is fresh water. Sprinkle salt in the remaining 97% percent to illustrate the point.
- Hold up the 30ml of water and ask students which state of matter they think most of this fresh water is in. About 80% of Earth’s fresh water is actually solid and locked up in glaciers or polar ice caps, while only 20% is in a liquid state. Now pour 6ml into the next container to demonstrate the amount of fresh water that is liquid.
- Hold up the remaining 6ml and ask students where they think the rest of the fresh water is found. Guide them to think about the lakes, rivers, reservoirs and aquifers that hold fresh water. Point out that most of the water is actually deep underground.
- Now hold the dropper and conclude by dropping a small drop of water in the last container, for all students to see. Explain that most of the remaining fresh water is either not accessible or is polluted. This small drop represents all the water on planet earth that is accessible drinking water, which is .003% of the total that we began with. The rest is salty, frozen, too hard for us to reach or polluted.
- Ask students to consider whether water is in a closed or open system and what that means in terms of how much water exists on planet earth. Guide students to understand that water is in a closed system and non-renewable.
- Explain that students will learn about one way we try to conserve water by visiting the rainwater catchment tanks. Tell students that in Closing Circle they will play The Wind Blows, a game about many of the ways we use that .003% of water daily.
- Divide the class into groups for garden jobs. During garden work time, take each group to visit the water catchment system.
At the Water Catchment Tank
- Explain how your school’s system works and share facts about how much water it catches. At the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley, each tank holds 3,000 gallons of water and for every inch of rainfall 200 gallons of water are saved in the tanks.
- Ask students to think critically about the purpose of rainwater catchment.
- Ask students to brainstorm ways they can decrease their own water consumption.
At the Closing Circle
Play The Wind Blows, a game similar to musical chairs. To start the game a teacher reads a statement and all students for whom the statement is true stand up and change seats. The last student standing without a seat reads a follow-up to the statement and then reads the next statement. In this particular instance of the game, the statements are about water consumption.
Edible Schoolyard Values, Environmental Stewardship, Grades 6-8
a. We acknowledge water as a precious resource that is intrinsic to living organisms. Students explore methods of water conservation in the Edible Schoolyard garden and kitchen, and are encouraged to do the same in their own lives as well.
All lessons at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley are a collaboration between the teachers and staff of the Edible Schoolyard and Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School.