Water Thematic Unit

Water Conservation

Lesson Title: Water Conservation- Your role and responsibility?

Lesson Overview: Through this lesson plan students first analyze their own consumption of water using a Personal Water Use Chart, determine ways to reduce their consumption and finally try to spread awareness with regard to the same.

Curriculum Subjects: Math, Science, Language Arts

Estimated Time: 10 days

Grade Level: 5th grade

Curriculum goal
Idaho State Standards for 5th grade

  1. 5.M.1.2.7- Uses a variety of strategies to solve real life problems
  2. 5. M.2.1.2- Estimate volume (capacity) in real world problems using Standard Units. Capacity is measured in cups, quarts and gallons
  1. Standard 5 – Personal and social perspectives
  • Goal 5.3: Understand the importance of natural resources and the need to manage and conserve them.
  • Goal 5.1: Understand Common Environmental Quality Issues, Both Natural and Human Induced
Language arts
  1. Goal 1.2: Acquire Concepts About Text. 5. LA.1.2.3 - Use the features of texts, such as formats, graphics diagrams, illustrations, charts, maps, and organization to find information and support understanding
  2. Goal 1.8: Vocabulary and Concept Development. 5. LA.1.8.3 - Use words and concepts necessary for comprehending math, science, social studies, literature and other Grade 5 content area text.
  3. Goal 2.1: Acquire Strategies and Skills for Comprehending Text. 5. LA.2.1.3 - Draw valid conclusions based on information gathered from text and cite evidence to support the conclusion.

Lesson Objectives
  • Students record and calculate the amount of water used by them for personal use. They estimate and measure water consumption in gallons and record this information on an Excel spreadsheet using the following Spreadsheet Activity - Personal Water Use Chart
  • Using a simple web cam Students will form groups to create an educative video on methods to conserve water which they will present with reference links onto the class wikispace site which has been set up by the teacher. They will also post a feedback on 2 additional groups.
  • Students create an E-book about their contribution, role and experience in implementing water conservation methods. They use material created in the previous activity that includes videos and pictures.

ISTE standards for students
  • 1a. Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
  • 1b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
  • 2a. interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environment and media.
  • 2b. communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats. 
  • 3b. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
  • 3c. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
  • 3d. process data and report results.
  • 4c. collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.

Pre-requisite Skills/ Key Concepts

Students should be able to
  • Perform basic computer tasks
  • Navigate through the Internet and research on required information
  • Use a webcam and camera

Lesson Procedure:

Part 1:   Motivational/Preparatory Activity
This video shows the situation of children in various less fortunate places around the world where education is not an option, as basic necessities like clean water are not available easily. It helps to bring about awareness on how important it is for us to preserve what we have, which address the requirement to save water. After viewing this video, students could be asked whether they have given any thought to how much water they use and how much water they actually need.

Part 2 : Informational Activity

  • Using the following  you tube video that helps students understand the concept and conversion of volume measurements the teacher will explain how to Estimate volume (capacity) in real world problems using Standard Units.

  •   http://www.pbs.org/teachers/connect/resources/3884/preview/ This is a wonderful interactive game that helps to practice volume estimation skills by estimating the least number of pours from different sized containers of water that are necessary to exactly fill a large container without spilling over. The Instructor could use the game to help students understand the concept of volume capacity measurement better.
  • http://www.h2oconserve.org/wc_disclaimer.php This H2O calculator is really neat. Students could use this to calculate their water consumption for the personal water use chart and help them conserve water. The calculator requires us to enter information on source of electricity, number of water saving fixtures, time spent in the shower, use of the tub, dietary habits , use of energy efficient dryers/washers and much more. Then it provides you with detailed information on the number gallons consumed and where you stand among others. It is also very useful in educating family members on water conservation.
  • The Instructor will assist students on how to create create a short educative video on water conservation methods, help them upload this onto You tube and then embed the video into the Wikispace page created.
  • The Instructor will provide guidance on how to create an E-book.

Part 3: Application Activity

Activity I - Using the following Spreadsheet Activity - Personal Water Use Chart students will estimate their water consumption for a week. Students will then analyze the possible ways they could have conserved water and reduced wastage that would help lower the total number of water (gallons) used.

Activity II
Step 1 - The Instructor will show students the following video to provide tips and ideas to conserve water

Step 2 - Using Wikispaces to research, present, collaborate and share work.
Create an account in Wikispaces and follow the directions provided in the site tutorials to understand and set up web pages for your project. The following links provide an example of the pages created for this project Welcome page,Video resources and Water Conservation methods page. Additional pages could be created to provide secure resources and information related to the project.  Once this is established students need to create a short educative video that provides tips on conserving water. This could be a group activity where students are divided into groups of five. The teacher would be required to assist students to upload their video onto the net using a video sharing site like you tube or yahoo( for safety reasons students will need to supervised). The next step would be to help them embed their video with a short description under the Water Conservation Methods page. Students could use help from an adult or student, either teacher, family (apart from parents) or expert if known by collaborating via email . Finally using the discussion page on the wiki site each group can provide a feedback or review of the groups work.

Activity III - Creating an E-book

Step 1 - Creating an account in Mixbook
With the guidance and supervision of a teacher or parent, students need to open the e-book creator Mixbook using the following link Mixbook. Then they need to click on the Signup option and provide the required information to create an account. Once this is achieved they would be taken to their Welcome page.

Step 2 - Formatting and designing pages for the E-book
After creating an account in Mixbook, students need to click on the Create option on the welcome page and enter the fields as required. Then they need to choose a desired size and theme for the E-book. On completing the previous steps, Mixbook provides a guided tour on how to add photos, format and style the pages. Once familiar with the formatting options, students can then start creating/writing their story by choosing the add text option

Step 3 - Writing a short story
Students are required to view the E-book on water provided here before proceeding to write their story. Based on the information in the E-book and previously collected artifacts/researched information they need to create a short story on their contribution, role and experience in implementing water conservation methods.
They also need to include a page on how they would convince either their family member or any other person to follow any one of the conservation methods they have used in the video created previously. The E-book needs to have a minimum of 8 pages, be rich in images & text, include a relevant and creative title, specific supporting detail, a satisfying conclusion and is devoid of any grammatical errors.

Step 4 - Publishing their E-book
Once students have completed their E-book they can save their work (the auto save option also does that), preview it and then close their editing workspace. After this they need choose the Home option and then my projects option from the left hand side tabs. Then they can click on the Publish option. When their e-book is published, Mixbook provides a unique URL which needs to be sent to the Instructor. If desired students can also copy and paste the embed code provided into their websites or blogs.

Part 4: Closure activity

Students could share their published E-book and wikispace page with parents, friends and other 5th graders. This would help motivate and encourage students by recognizing and appreciating their effort and hard work.

Technology Enhanced Accommodations

Students with Cognitive Difficulties

Tap to Talk - TapToTalk makes communication fun, like another “game” on this cool device. Just tap a picture and TapToTalk speaks. Each picture can lead to another screen of pictures. This would be very helpful for non verbal students to communicate and express their opinions and views on various segments of my project.

Students with Physical Disabilities

Dragon Naturally Speaking This is a voice recognition software that would be a useful tool for students with physical disabilities and may struggle with use of a keyboard or any other writing task. This would be very useful for students with both physical and cognitive difficulties (students who may struggle with writing and processing their thinking at the same time) to perform any written task for the lesson plan, be it creating reports or an e-book.  Dragon Naturally Speaking utilizes a minimal user interface. As an example, dictated words appear in a floating tooltip as they are spoken, and when the speaker pauses, the program transcribes the words into the active window at the location of the cursor. The software has three primary areas of functionality: dictation, text-to-speech and command input. Not only is the user able to dictate and have their speech transcribed as written text, or have a document synthesized as an audio stream, but they are also able to issue commands that are recognized as such by the program.

Students with Sensory Disabilities

Classroom Sound-Field Amplification Systems Use of a sound-field amplification system provides the teacher with a unique opportunity to maximize listening and learning opportunities in the classroom by amplifying the teacher’s voice. This not only helps students with auditory problems but helps all students receive the proper sound field to enhance attention and focus. This audio system will be used throughout the unit.

IZOOM - screen magnification and reading software
This software helps visually impaired students be an active part of learning with technology by helping them to magnify their computer screens and be involved with activities which require the use of computers. It would be a very helpful tool with regard to this lesson plan, as students with visual impairments can use the computer without any strain or frustration to research information on the net, use various internet resources, presentation software, games and other web based activities to learn and understand information about water conservation.

At Risk Students

Notefish Notefish is a web tool that lets you manage projects while you research online. Special needs kids will like being able to drag and drop images, color pages and annotate notes right from their browser without having to wait until later. It helps students with difficulty in remembering things to do and sequence of tasks . With regard to my unit, it would be helpful for students to organize and keep track of information collected while researching topics on water conservation using internet safe search engines.

Brain Pop
This colorful, dynamic learning site has all kinds of resources for engaging learners who have difficulty in performing grade level reading and writing tasks, lack motivation and have trouble in comprehending concepts. BrainPOP creates animated, curriculum-based content that engages students, supports educators, and bolsters achievement. Some of the activities such as Water Drink Up!would very useful to teach at risk and other students the various properties and aspects of water. The reason for technology to be more effective in reaching out to at risk students here, is similar to the impact of television on all children, but in the case of web based activities and games,  they are solely educative, extremely interactive and providing a rich multi sensory environment which has been proven by research to improve learning.

Gifted Students  

Stories2Learn Stories2Learn (S2L) offers parents and educators the ability to create personalized stories using photos, text, and audio messages. These stories can be used to promote an individual’s literacy, leisure, as well as social skills. With respect to my project gifted students could use this wonderful application to help their classmates and also include improvise on given project

  1. Evaluate Personal Use Chart to determine the use of appropriate and accurate measurement of volume capacity. Provide a test on converting volume measurements
  2. Use the following site Volume conversion activity to help students practice and self evaluate their knowledge on volume measurement conversions.
  3. E-Book
  • Includes a minimum of 8 pages
  • Rich in text and images
  • Includes student contribution, role and experience in implementing water conservation methods
  • Includes a relevant and creative title, specific supporting detail, a satisfying conclusion and is devoid of any grammatical errors

Materials, Resources and Equipment
  1. Computer with Internet access.
  2. Accounts set up for Wikispaces
  3. Built in micro phone and camera to use Skype
  4. A web cam for creating the video.
  5. Connecting media for uploading the video into the computer
Online resources