Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Water Conservation

Erin Cleveland


After learning how water is wasted and can be saved, students make a commitment to change their habits in order to conserve water.


The student knows that approximately 75 percent of the surface of the Earth is covered by water.

The student knows that reusing, recycling, and reducing the use of natural resources improve and protect the quality of life.


-Empty milk jug
-Conservation Concentration memory game (See Preparations)
-Drawing paper, one sheet per student
-Poster board with “Save It Class” written on it
-Science journals


1. Research Alachua County's (or your county's) conservation problems and solutions at the Gainesville Regional Utilities Website (
2. Find or make one set of concentration game cards (found in the AIMS workbooks) for every four students. Make copies on cardstock and laminate them for students to use in a game. The game cards consist of about 9 pairs where one card has a picture of someone wasting water and the other card has a picture of someone conserving water. For example, someone is brushing his teeth with the water running and then someone is brushing his teeth while the faucet is off. If you do not have access to AIMS workbooks, then you can make these cards or have the students make them.
3. Give students drawing paper, on which they will draw a house. Tell them to draw an upstairs and a downstairs, so they can follow directions in the activity.
4. Write on a posterboard “Save It Class,” so that students can glue their drawings to it.


Note: Before the lesson begins, place a milk jug underneath a dripping faucet so that the students can see how much water was wasted during the class period. There are many ways water is wasted around the home. A slowly leaking faucet can waste around 15 gallons a day. Waiting for the water to get hot can waste 5 to 10 gallons. A 15-minute shower uses about 120 gallons. Letting the faucet run while brushing your teeth wastes a gallon of water. This activity will help students see ways that water is wasted around the home and help them become more aware of ways they can help conserve water.

1. Explain to the students that in order for everyone to start thinking about water, we need to make some rain. In order to make rain, the teacher explains that the students need to follow the teacher's lead and do exactly what she is doing when she walks past them (students will not all be doing the same thing at the same time). Also, explain that the students need to listen carefully to the rain. First, start rubbing your hands together and walk by each student. Second, when you get back to the beginning, start snapping your fingers and walk around again. Third, start slapping your hands on your lap and walk around again. Fourth, start stomping your feet around the room while you cover the entire class. Then, reverse the process by slapping your hands on your lap, snapping your fingers, rubbing your hands together, and finally making no sound at all.

2. Show students a map of the world. Discuss the amount of water covering the Earth. Ask: How much of the Earth's surface is covered by water? (About ¾) Is all of this water usable for consumption by people or animals in its present form? (No. More than 97% of Earth's water is salt water.)

3. Ask anyone if they know what the word “conservation” means. Discuss with the class what it means and then explain to them that they will be observing ways that water can be conserved and learning why it should be conserved.

4. After students are calm and settled, talk about how rain is plentiful and discuss why, if water makes up 75% of the Earth's surface, do we need to conserve it? How does water affect our lives and the environment? Is water a limited natural resource? Be sure to tell students that safe drinking water is limited.

5. Divide class into groups of 4 and explain the “Conservation Concentration” game. Each group gets a set of cards that they turn face down. Each person takes a turn by turning over 2 cards and trying to find a match. You must match up a water-wasting card with its corresponding water-saving card. The key to this game is to remember what cards you turned over and where they were so that you can find their match later in the game. Let them play once or twice to become familiar with water conservation.

6. In order to discuss the game cards, have the students orally explain the water-wasting cards and their corresponding water-saving cards.

7. Discussion questions:
How does water affect the quality of life?
Have other scientists discovered ways to conserve water? If so, how and what?
How did these scientists create these methods of conservation?
Did industries think about how they would affect the public's water source?
How can you save water at home?
How can you help your family keep from wasting water?
What water wasting is going on at school and how can it be prevented?
What can your class do to help your community become better conservers of water?

8. Give each student a piece of drawing paper. Ask students to draw a house, with a roof, a bottom, and a yard. Now, students should think about how they personally waste water at home. As your students think, explain this next activity. In the roof of the house they should write how one way that they waste water at home. At the bottom of the house they should write how they can now conserve water at home. Then, in the yard below they can draw a picture of how they are going to conserve water at home. They should think carefully about what they write because they will be expected to work on conserving water in this one specific area at home, whether it is brushing their teeth or taking a shower. (Ask them the next day how they did.)

9. In order to remind the class of ways to conserve water at home, tape the houses on a poster board, labeled “Save It Class.” Also, check the milk jug that was put underneath the dripping faucet. Show the class how much water was wasted after only 30 minutes! Remind students to go home and teach their families about the ways that they can conserve water.

10. Have a quiz game at the end of class. Split the class up into two teams, and ask them the questions listed in the assessment section below. This will conclude the lesson.

11. Be sure to tell students that they will write about their commitments to conserve water at home in their science journals.


1. Students develop a poster that shows their understanding about how they can conserve water at home. This allows the students to apply their knowledge about water conservation to their own lives. The teacher assesses the posters, looking for appropriate pictures and written descriptions of water being wasted and conserved.
2. Split the class up into teams, and ask them these questions: What percentage of the Earth is covered by water? What is one way that we waste water? What is one way that we can conserve water? Why should we conserve our resources?
3. The following day, students write about their commitments to conserve water at home in their science journals. This will be a form of self-assessment as well as a way for the teacher to monitor individual learning.


Students may use the Internet to research the GRU Website (

Web Links

Web supplement for Water Conservation
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Web supplement for Water Conservation
American Water Works Association

Web supplement for Water Conservation
Lesson Plans Page

Web supplement for Water Conservation
Literature Bibliography for Water Conservation

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