Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Water, Water, Everywhere (High School)

Ann Edgecombe
Duval County Schools


Through on-line newspaper articles, this lesson provides an analytical review of water resources in the Southeast as an illustration of the economic concept of scarcity.


The student understands how many financial and nonfinancial factors (e.g., cultural traditions, profit, and risk) motivate consumers, producers, workers, savers, and investors to allocate their scarce resources differently.


-Internet-accessible computer(s) and printer
-Board and markers and/or overhead projector
-Samples of various types of water
-Pen and paper for students
-Attached file pages: t-chart of causes and consequences, essay assignment, and essay assessment sheet


1. Determine the availability of Internet access by students. If necessary, print copies of the newspaper articles for the students.
2. Read the on-line articles and water statistics to become familiar with the information.
3. If using this activity as an introductory assignment to scarcity, determine the students' abilities to identify the five economic groups used in this lesson.


1. As an introductory or culminating activity for a unit on scarcity, assign the students to read the on-line series of three articles from the [Florida Times-Union] on water and water shortages in the Southeast as a pre-reading assignment. (See Weblinks.) If Internet access is not available, provide printed copies for the students from the Website.

2. In class, have samples of bottled water, tap water, ocean water, and polluted water in matching bottles, hiding the type of water, but telling the students that each contains water. Ask for a thirsty volunteer who wants a drink and offer them a drink first from the ocean, then the polluted, tap, and finally bottled water to make the point that there may be water available, but it is not always the type of water we want or need. (Student doesn't ever drink the water, but he or she is just offered it.)

3. Present the statistics on water usage by all Americans. (Aee attached file.) Facilitate a brief discussion of the information given.

4. Prior to dividing the class into cooperative groups assigned by the teacher to accommodate varying abilities, model for the students how to create a chart of causes, consequences, and solutions to water scarcity in the Southeast given in the news articles previously assigned and give one or two examples. (See attached file for list.) Circulate and act as facilitator among the groups. Groups should come back together to share and create a class chart with the teacher as facilitator. After the class chart has been created, the teacher should facilitate the class in identifying and grouping the solutions as financial or nonfinancial and identifying how each of the economic groups would respond. This could be done with color coding or creating a second chart.

5. Based upon the class discussion and the chart creation, each student will write a five-paragraph essay as a formative assessment.

6. Essays will be evaluated based upon the essay assessment sheet. (See attached file.)


As a formative assessment, the student will compose a five-paragraph essay evaluating both financial and nonfinancial solutions to water scarcity in the Southeast, addressing three of the five groups given in the benchmark, as well as draw conclusions as to the effectiveness of the solutions. Use the essay assessment sheet to determine performance levels. (See attached file.)
See Extensions for an alternative assessment.


This series of articles may also be used during the instruction of the concept of supply and demand as a separate instruction or as a follow-up to the scarcity essay. In place of the traditional essay, students could create a written memo as an advisor to the governor making recommendations for the problem of water scarcity in the state. Students of varying learning levels, such as ESE, might be asked to produce a graphic organizer as an alternative to the writing assignments. This could be started during the reading process and finalized after group work and class discussion.

Web Links

Keyword: water shortage
Florida Times-Union

Web supplement for Water, Water Everywhere
Reservoirs losing longtime appeal 07/15/02

Web supplement for Water, Water Everywhere
THE SOUTH'S WATER DILEMMA: Southern states hit by water shortage 07/14/02

Web supplement for Water, Water Everywhere
Conservation can ease water woes 07/16/02

This and the following Websites may be accessed for water statistics information and graphs.
Bottled Water

Web supplement for Water, Water Everywhere
Bottled Water

Web supplement for Water, Water Everywhere
Bottled Water

Web supplement for Water, Water Everywhere
Water Usage

Web supplement for Water, Water Everywhere
Map of Water Usage

Web supplement for Water, Water Everywhere
Summary of Water Usage

Web supplement for Water, Water Everywhere

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