Keywords: water conservation, water use, data collection; Grade Level: third grade; Total Time for Lesson: 30 minutes each day on two separate days; Setting: classroom instruction with assignment to be done at home

Concepts Covered

  • The importance of water in every day living.
  • The ways in which water is used in the school and home.
  • People can take added measures to help conserve water.

Goals for the Lesson

  • The students will list ways in which they use water both in school and at home,
  • The students will collect data to determine actual water usage within the home.
  • The students will conserve water.
  • The students will create a poster persuading others to conserve water.

Materials Needed

State Standards Addressed: Humans and the Environment (4.8.D); Know the Importance of Natural Resources in Daily Life; Identify Ways to Conserve Our Natural Resources

Teaching Model: Think/Pair/Share-Data Collection-Discussion-Persuasive Project


Day 1

  1. Introduce the lesson by showing the students the container of water. Ask them what they think you will use it for. Allow them to share only a few of their ideas. Explain that you could do many different things with that water. Tell them they will make a list of all the things we use water for.
  2. Think/Pair/Share: Distribute a piece of paper to each student. Have the students generate lists, independently, of all the possible uses of water. After approximately five minutes, pair the students and encourage them to share their ideas with their partner and expand their lists. After an additional ten minutes, ask the pairs of students to share some of their ideas. A class list can be generated and students can continue adding ideas to their lists.
  3. Data Collection (taken from Water Conservation with the Water Lion): Compliment the students on their good thinking of uses of water. Explain that over the next few days, they will collect information about where, when and how they actually use water at school and home. Distribute Activity I: Average Water Use Tally from the 4-H curriculum and go over the directions with the students.

Day 2

  1. After they have tallied their water use over 3 days, ask the students if they used as much water over the 3-day period as they expected. Allow students to share their experiences.
  2. Discussion: Lead the students in a discussion about where, when, and how water was used. For example:
    • Did you use water in any manner that was not listed on the data collection sheet?
    • Did you use more or less water than you expected?
    • If you knew you would not have that much water, which activities would you eliminate, and why?
    • Did you use water unnecessarily?
    • Do you think you used water wisely? If not, explain what was unwise?
    • How could you use less water and still do all of the activities listed in the data collection sheets?
  3. Explain that this is called conservation and that it is important to conserve water whenever possible so that there will be enough clean water for when we need it. Explain that it is important for them and others to conserve water.

Persuasion Poster

Tell the students that since they had so many good ideas for conserving water, it would be helpful for them to share their information with others so that even more people can conserve water. Explain that it is called persuasion when you want to convince other people to do something. Explain that they will be creating a poster to persuade people to conserve water. They must choose one method of water conservation. Their poster must show and tell the reader how to conserve water. Ask a few children to share ideas of what could be done. (for example: Write "turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth" and draw a picture of someone brushing his/her teeth with the water not running at the same time.)

Provide the students with drawing paper and writing instruments. Give the students ample time to complete a poster. Allow the students to display their posters throughout the school or perhaps in local businesses.


Could the students identify at least 10 ways in which water is used? Did they complete the data collection? Did the students identify and illustrate one way of conserving water?


Drohan, Joy R., William E. Sharpe, and Sanford S. Smith. Water Conservation with the Water Lion. The 4-H Water Project Unit 1 (2001). University Park, Pa.: Center for Watershed Stewardship, The Pennsylvania State University.


Hope Wenzel, Tyrone Elementary