NGSS Aligned: Water Conservation Lab: Students Design and Carry Out a Study

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In this activity NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) aligned activity, students (Part 1:) design and carry out a study to calculate how much water will be saved if they turn the water off while brushing their teeth, and (Part 2:) design and carry out a loner-term study at home to calculate how much water can be conserved. The lesson proceeds as follows:

1. First, students watch a short video on water conservation, and the growing water shortage crisis worldwide. They answer a few questions based upon the video.
2. Then, students design a simple study to calculate the amount of water that could be saved if they turn the water off while brushing their teeth. They carry out the procedure, and answer conclusion questions.
3. Finally, there is option for students design a larger, more long term water conservation study to be carried out at home, perform some calculations, and answer some conclusion questions.

Time Frame: Part 1 should only take one class period. The optional second part is mostly done at home, and can be run over a weekend, or as long as a full week.

Details Below:

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Mission to Mars is fun Ecology project, in which students create a self-sustaining mini-ecosystem to feed astronauts on the long trip to Mars. It is packed with Next Generation Science Standards.

Get it here: Mission to Mars

If you like this product, you may like "Proteins and Homeostasis", where students use STEM skills to design an experiment to test the stability of egg protein. All you need is household materials.

Buy it here: NGSS Aligned: Proteins and Homeostasis: Designing an Experiment to test the Stability of Egg Whites

DCI’s: ESS3: Earth and Human Activity, ETS1: Engineering Design

Cross Cutting Concepts: Cause and Effect, Scale Proportion and Quantity

Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Designing solutions, Using Mathematical and Computational Thinking


Prior Knowledge: Students do not need to have any specific prior knowledge to complete this activity. However, they will be performing some simple math calculations.

Materials and Setup: For part 1, students will need access to a sink/faucet. They will need a bucket/container, a beaker, a stopwatch (phone or clock will work will work).

A couple of benefits of this activity are: (1) It can be used for most grades and (2) the teacher can just do part 1, or go further by having students do part 2 as well.

Implementing the Lesson:

1. Students can simply follow the sequence of the packet by watching the video (, answering the questions, reading the material list, writing a procedure, calculate the water they conserved, and answer the conclusion question using the final video clip ( It is up to the teacher, and his/her knowledge of the readiness of the students to decide how much prompting to give them regarding writing the procedures. You might decide that you want to write the procedures together, or brainstorm generally about the procedures, and then have students write them concretely. Alternatively, students could simply writ the procedures with no help from the teacher (just approve them before carrying out the protocol).

2. Part 2 gives students an opportunity to take the study further. They are to choose a way in which they use water at home, and design a similar study to see how much they can conserve by changing their behavior (showering, washing hands, washing fruit, shaving, washing car, etc.). Part 2 has students get more practice, with less hand-holding, on designing a study. I have had students run it for 2 days over a weekend, or for as long as a week (depends on age / maturity / work ethic).
3. It is good activity to get students thinking about the use of a vital resource. It works great for Earth Day, but can be used any day of the year. Students utilize STEM and NGSS skills in this activity.

My students enjoy this activity. If yours liked it, there are more like this at my TpT store:

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Teaching Duration
1 hour

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NGSS Aligned: Water Conservation Lab: Students Design and
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NGSS Aligned: Water Conservation Lab: Students Design and
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