With our lessons focusing on how the water cycle works, and the way in which we use water it is now time to explore water conservation more fully. I begin with a discussion on what we have learned about water. Rather than ask them about water conservation directly, I ask the class to explain to me why they think learning about water, and topics like the watershed, are important for us to understand. With this question students really take off and begin to work their way to water conservation. They do not use the word, but do begin to explain the actions they can take to when using water. It is when the discussion turns to this that I give them the vocabulary word of conservation. Many have heard it and I challenge them to use it more.
Once we talk about conservation I am going to break the class into four teams. This activity does require a large amount of water and trash buckets. You could adjust the amount of water by using just buckets and cups. We had some university students to help, and they set up the water.
With the groups chosen, I explain how the activity will work. The goal for each team is to transport the water from one bucket to the other. They will need to not waste a drop. I give them a scenario where they are helping a neighboring village with their drought, and you can only give up this small amount of water to help out. With water being so valued due to the drought, they need to not waste a drop, but try to move the water quickly.
Each team is given about three to four minutes to come up with a game plan that includes everyone on their team. Every member of their team has to have a role and be responsible for moving the water in some way. Before I line them up and say go, I tell them that if they drop water onto the ground, the team has to do three push ups before continuing on. With everyone ready and planned, all I have to say now is go.
When the water has been moved, I ask the teams to sit in a team circle. I ask them to first talk about what worked well, and what they changed as they began working. The next thing I ask them to discuss is how they worked together, this includes the good and bad. I then bring them back to class and ask these questions again but as a whole group. This debriefing continues and we conclude with the importance of water conservation. I ask them to write what they learned about conservation into their science journal. They could write about the activity and how it helped them to understand conservation.