Grade Level: 5th
Common Core Standard: Represent and Interpret Data, Perform operations with multi-digit whole numbers and with decimals to hundredths, Working with fractions and ratios
Comparison of Water Usage
While it may be hard to believe, many parts of the world are coming to the end of their water sources. The lack of access to clean water or any water at all is the biggest cause of child death in the world. Even in the United States, 36 states are in current or near water crisis, meaning they are worried about the depletion of water in their area. To gain a better understanding of the global water crisis, we will learn about the water usage in Africa compared to our own water usage.
- Using the following information, make a bar graph to compare the average amount of water people use each day in these countries in Africa and then in North America:
AreaGal/Person/DayCanada / 209
United States / 176
Africa / 10
- What do your findings tell you about water use in Africa compared to North America?
- Estimate what you think your daily water usage is. Do you think it is close to 176 gallons per day or 10?
Tomorrow fill out the following chart about your personal water use:Activity / Times per day / Estimated Amount of Water Used (in gallons), per time
Wash face or hands / 1/2
Take a shower, number of minutes / 2 per minute (water-saving shower head)
Or 5 per minute (regular)
Take a bath / 40
Brush teeth (specify if water is running or turned off) / Water running- 2
Water off- ¼
Flush the toilet / 2 a flush (water-saving toilet)
5 a flush (regular toilet)
Get a drink / ¼
Wash dishes / 10
Day 3- Questions to Answer Individually and Then Discuss as a Class
- Now use the column on the right of your chart and the information you filled out to find out about how many gallons of water you use per day.
- Now compare your personal water usage to the averages you used on Day 1 for water usage in Canada, the United States and Africa. Add your average to the bar graph you made on Day 1. What do you think about your findings? Were they close to your estimation? Do you think your parents’ water usage would be higher than your usage?
- Right now, 1 in 3 Africans do not have access to clean water. If our classroom represented Africa, how many kids in our class wouldn’t have access to clean water?
- Women and children in Africa spend about one fourth of their day getting water. How many hours of the day do they spend getting water? If you had to spend this much time getting water each day what activities would you have to give up?
Many children in Africa cannot attend school because they spend this much time retrieving water in order to survive. Their village may be located far away from any clean water. Every day they have to walk far distances to the nearest water source to retrieve water for their family members.
- What have these activities taught you about water usage? What can we do to help stop the water crisis? What can you do to decrease your daily water usage?