For this part of the Journey, scouts explore what they love about water, how they use it, why it is important, and how they can personally conserve water and keep it clean.
Water Map. On a large sheet of paper, outline a map of a local waterway that the girls may be familiar with. Or use a paper map of your area and highlight the local waterways and mark water-related landmarks that the girls may be familiar with. For our troop, we used a map of Maryland, highlighting the stream behind our meeting place down the local rivers to the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. We marked the place where we went camping near the river and where we went sailing to show how they were all connected.
On blue cutout waterdrop papers, the girls wrote down or drew things they love to do with water. We didn't, but could have used different colors of paper for things they love to do (e.g., swimming, sailing, go to the beach, ski, sled, ice skate, make hot chocolate), things they have to do (e.g., take baths, wash hands, cook, water plants, wash dishes and clothes), and things others do with water that they benefit from (e.g., grow watermelons, keep cows for milk, make ice, used in manufacturing almost anything in your house). We taped the waterdrop papers to the map near where the activities happen (when possible) or around the outside. We talked about how things that happen upstream (trash thrown in the stream) could impact the things we like to do downstream (trash in the water near our campsite).
Another troop posted pictures of their water drops.
Fieldscope maps. National Geographic has a Chesapeake Bay FieldScope website that lets you explore the areas around the bay, adding different layers of data to the map. You can see how the water flows down the rivers, into the bay, and out to the ocean. You can add a "query point" to the map, then trace how water flows from there into the bay.
Water Cycle Experiment 1. In a clear plastic box (e.g., a clamshell box like fresh vegetables come in sometimes), put a 'mountain' of refried beans on one side, leaving room for a 'lake' on the other side. Before you start and as you go along, ask the scouts to describe what they see. Pour in ~1/2 cup of boiling water down the mountain. How does the water flow? Does it form things that look like streams/rivers that merge together? Close the clamshell. Watch the steam build up on the roof, like clouds. Next, put 2-3 ice cubes in a ziploc bag (so it doesn't leak) or use a small cooler pack, and set it on top of the clamshell over the mountain. See if the 'clouds' over the mountain start to 'rain' as the water cools.
Just found another version of this at Corkboard Connections using a rotisserie chicken plastic container.
Rain in a Bag. Rain in a Bag would work as a quick opening craft for a take-home activity. The scouts draw a lake landscape on a Ziploc bag and add water. At home, tape the bags to a sunny window, and report back what happened at the next meeting.
State of Water play-acting. We discussed the different states of matter for water and pretended to be water molecules with arms stuck out in a V-shape. The girls pretended to be molecules as they changed from a liquid (all in a circle, but could move around within the circle) to a gas (moving around the room, but bouncing off one another and the walls/furniture), then back into a liquid, then into a solid (ice, but in a crystal structure with girls only able to touch each other's backs with one hand).Wetland in a Bottle. We did this activity on a troop camping trip. We brought a couple of empty 2-liter plastic soda bottles precut, then asked the girls to gather up the soil, grass, leaves, small rocks, etc. from around the campsite to make their own wetland. Best to use some dirty water with grass, etc. floating in it, so the scouts get the idea of how the wetlands clean the water. We made sure to show them the "cleaner" water coming out of the spout and ask them if it looked like what they saw on a hike down to a local river (about the same color). www.randwater.co.za/CorporateResponsibility/WWE/Pages/WetlandModel.aspx File:Building a model of a Wetland.docx Wetland in a bottle trio. If you have more time and/or some place to leave plants to grow over a week or two, you could try this.
This website has another take on the wetland in a bottle.
Water wheel from plastic bottles. Make a water wheel using plastic bottles, some tree branches and string/rope.
SAVE WaterEditAfter learning the importance of water, the scouts develop a project for how to save water and advocate for it in their communities.
Ideas for helping the girls learn about why it is important to save water:
- Fetching and Carrying discussion. My troop discussed why it is important to save water and how some people don't have it piped to their homes. They have to fetch and carry it themselves -- and that this is often done by girls their age, who then don't have time to go to school. When they said "Yeah!" to not going to school, I mentioned that, then, they wouldn't learn to read and therefore couldn't read Harry Potter ("Oh NO!").
- Water Relay. After a quick discussion of importance, the girls did a Water Relay with jugs of water to see how hard this was. They did it once holding a jug of water on their head down a long hallway, and once holding a jug in each hand. It gave them the idea of how tiring it could be. (We did this in February, so we had to do it inside; if it had been warmer, I might have tried it outside with buckets instead.
- The Every Last Drop website shows how much water we use in everyday activities.
Ideas for how the girls could save water:
- Water Conservation Charades. I found 20 ways that 7-9 year olds could save water themselves File:Water charades.pdf (instead of some of the suggestions on the web to "replace your toilet" which they can't really do themselves!). I put these on small pieces of paper and had pairs of girls draw slips. They acted out their conservation example for the other girls to guess at. It made the learning a lot more fun.
- Saving Water game. Found this game at http://www.get2knowh2o.org/student/Exp2.pdf. The girls split into two teams (conservers and non-conservers) with separate buckets and instructions on when and how much water to "use" for different tasks. At the end they compare how much water they have left.
- Can You Undo Water Pollution? Experiment. Put some household trash, including vegetable oil, coffee grounds, and solid wastes, in a tub of water. Have the girls use tongs and a sieve to see how hard it is to clean the water.
- Water Meter Tracking. I gave the girls a homework sheet to take home to remind them to tell their families about how to save water, and on the back, I printed up all 20 ways to save water that the girls discussed during the meeting. Also on the sheet was a table for them to write down their meter readings at their home, and asked them to do one reading soon after the meeting, and do at least one other reading before the next meeting. I put more rows on the table, in case any girls wanted to track it more often than this, with room for them to do the subtraction of one reading from the other to see how much water their family used. (FYI, i did check with all of the parents ahead of time to make sure they each had access to the water meter in their house. If you have families in apartments, this might not be possible).
- World Water Monitoring Challenge for National Public Lands Day
Be a Citizen Scientist: Monitor Water at a Public Land Near You! An official World Water Monitoring 'Day' occurs annually on September 18. Monitor water quality at a local public land during NPLD. Learn about common indicators of healthy water and water issues that affect public lands. Register your project online with WWMC. To receive a test kit, be sure to indicate you are affiliated with National Public Lands Day! For more information visit: the World Water Monitoring Challenge and National Public Lands Day websites.
SHARE What You Have LearnedEdit
Then, the scouts share what they have learned and done to inspire others to take action.
Finally, the scouts celebrate and reflect on what they have done to save water.
• "Statistics show that essentially every person on the planet that has running water – also has a mobile phone." (BrainPOP tweet, 9/2/2011). Now how can we use that in a WOW project?
• "Many of us don't realize how much fresh water goes into growing our food -- it takes 13 bath tubs to make a normal-sized chocolate bar," said Sarah Richardson, manager of the museum's "Water Wars" exhibition. (Scientific American, World Water Crisis Spurs Inventors, September 20, 2011)
• A bucketful of H2O has more atoms in it than there are bucketfuls of H20 in the Atlantic Ocean. (USA ScienceFest twitter tweet, February 8, 2012)
• Infographic on why bottled water is bad. http://www.onlineeducation.net/bottled_water
• World Water Day, March 22nd. This is an occasion to take stock of what is happening around the world in respect to water use, quality and shortages. As the world population increases and diets continue to improve, demands can only increase for fresh water. More information about water and World Water Day are available on the United Nations website.
Asch, Frank. Water.
Edom, Helen. Science With Water. Science Activities.
Emoto, Masaru. The Secret of Water.
Goodrich, Randi S. and Michael S. Goodrich. Hydro's Adventure Through the Water Cycle
Green, Jen and Mike Gordon. Why Should I Save Water?
Hock, Peggy. Our Earth: Saving Water. Our Earth (Children's Press).
Lyon, George Ella and Katherine Tillotson. All the Water in the World.
Morris, Neil. Saving Water. Green Kids.
Relf, Pat. The Magic School Bus Wet All Over: A Book About The Water Cycle. Experience the earth's water cycle first hand as Ms. Frizzle's class rises into the air, forms a rain cloud and drizzles down upon earth, just like rain!
Strauss, Rochelle and Rosemary Woods. One Well: The Story of Water on Earth. CitizenKid.
Wick, Walter. A Drop Of Water.
Dorros, Arthur. Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean. Let's-Read-and-Find... Science 2
Green, Jen. Saving oceans and wetlands.
4H Water Conservation Curriculum There's No New Water!
Fresh Water and Salt Water
Do freshwater and salt water mix? Try this experiment to find out.
How much freshwater is there on Earth? Here's a great graphic: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2012/05/18/and-this-tiny-sphere-is-all-the-worlds-water-that-we-can-use/
Poems about rain at Alphabet-Soup.net.
BrainPOP | Water Cycle video(may require a subscription - check with your school, some elementary schools have free subscriptions for parents use at home)
Water Cycle Adventure. This 10-minute play traces water in its never-ending cycle, and can be read with the scouts taking turns for the 19 different parts.
Rain in a Bag - This would work as a take home activity. The scouts could draw their lake landscape on a Ziploc bag and add water. Then take it home, tape it to a sunny window, and report back what happened at the next meeting.
BrainPOP | Water Pollution video (may require a subscription)
The amount of garbage humankind puts into the oceans every 15 seconds www.upworthy.com/gross-in-the-time-it-takes-you-to-look-at-this-photo-its-contents-will-have-doub?g=2&c=ufb1
How long until it's gone poster. Shows how many years until various types of trash decompose. www.activeseakayaking.ca/how-long-until-its-gone/10 Things You Can Do for Trash Free Seas
World Resources Institute's Aqueduct website This website lets you look at different locations around the world to see where water resources will likely be under stress (e.g., pollution) or high/low in the coming years.
COSI | Big Waves experiment (good to demonstrate any form of waves -- water, sound, light, etc.)
How Stuff Works Science Projects for Kids: Weather and Seasons including how to make fog in a bottle.