Explore the urgent crisis growing with our world’s most necessary natural resource: fresh water. Everything from shortages to pollution to waste and some surprising solutions is covered in this unit.
Grab students attention with shocking numbers, make it real with their own personal audit, guide them to dig deeper with engaging documentaries and current issues, and inspire them with the work of water activists.
This unit comes in both print PDF and digital for Google Slides.
Greatness is believing in the power of one person’s choices to impact the world.
Few teenagers know the world beyond their own surroundings and many have no idea how their lifestyle, their consumption levels, their “normal” behavior are not the reality for much of the world, especially when it comes to our natural resources.
Guide your students through a variety of sources, from documentaries and charts to a simulation and news articles, as they grapple with the urgent question: “How can I better protect our limited freshwater supply?”
Set each of them up for success with this high interest, multi-faceted unit with highly scaffolded graphic organizers, student directions, and supplemental resources included at each step of the way.
And empower your students to become globally-aware water citizens in this 3-week unit!
Included in this complete inquiry-driven unit:
- Teacher Unit Overview with general notes, links, standards, and a pacing guide with standards (3 pages)
- Daily Lesson Plans with step-by-step directions, planning tips, and lesson takeaway notes (13 pages total)
- Detailed Answer Keys for each activity
- Image Files of each of the included data displays
- Unit Review and Skills handouts with self-checking questions and "I Can..." statements
- Skill Handouts that include Annotating a Text, Analyzing News Media Sources, Analyzing a Political Cartoon
- Unit Notes: deepen learning on the concept water throughout the unit
- Incoming Brainstorm: open unit with discussion of the unit's central concept, water
- Water Pop Quiz: kick off the unit with some eye-opening statistics and facts
- What If... Simulation: using a gallon jug, demonstrate just how little freshwater is available for human use
- Water Supply Video Notes: gain a solid overview of world's freshwater supply crisis with guided notes for a short National Geographic video
- Case Study: Water by the Jug: dig into the human rights issue of water collection that is a daily reality for tens of millions of women
- The World's Most Polluted River: investigate how various groups use, and abuse, the life-given water of Indonesia's Citarum River
- Water Supply & Access: analyze a wide variety of maps and graphs for how water is unequally available and used throughout the world
- Last Call at the Oasis: compare various water stakeholder, activists, and experts trying to solve the impending water crisis
- Creating Water: research the different ways technology and policy is working to create more fresh water for generations to come
- Political Cartoon & News Article Analysis: incorporate timely events with these templates, comes with ideas for how to incorporate throughout the unit
- Socratic Seminar Discussion: culminate learning with a deep conversation about what all this means for the future of the planet and for your students
- Assessment: confidently assess with these short-answer and extending written response questions
Note on Resources Used
All of the activities utilize video clips, news articles, and data displays that can be accessed free online at the time of this latest update. As for the two full-length documentaries used in this unit, The World's Most Polluted Water and Last Call at the Oasis are available for free streaming at the time of this latest update.
Note to Homeschoolers
Though the included teacher lesson plans are written to fully support a traditional classroom teacher, this resource is also a great fit for your teenage homeschooler:
- the inquiry structure of this unit is driven by critical thinking, reading, and writing skills and a central high-interest question
- a wide ability range can easily access the rich variety of sources utilized in this unit,
- your student’s voice is central to each activity, through talking out their learning, maximizing the one-on-one
- most activities can be completed independently and aren’t solely reliant on group or whole-class work
- all utilized sources are free and easily obtainable; either included or accessible online (links provided)
- this unit is independent of a textbook, though one could be used for greater background knowledge
- any one activity can easily be left out to customize for your student’s skill level or personal interest
Looking for more units on sustainability?
These units can be easily integrated into your Current Events, Human Geography, or Environmental Science course
- Fossil Fuels & Alternatives: a 3-week unit exploring our addiction to oil, the harsh impact it is having on our air pollution and greenhouse gas levels, and the urgent need to switch to clean renewable energy sources
- Plastic & Garbage: a 3-week unit exploring the modern invention of garbage, landfills, and single-use disposables, the effects it is having on our oceans, and how a zero-waste lifestyle can be possible
- Sustainability PBL Unit: an 8-week thematic PBL unit that explores all three: water, fossil fuels, and garbage
Interested in making this into a full-course?
Global Issues to Empower, a semester-long current events, human geography, and environmental science all-in-one course
- World Population, Demographics, & Poverty PBL Unit: explore worldwide population numbers, extreme poverty, and demographics
- Growth, Globalization, & Natural Resources PBL Unit: explore the growth and shrinking of our global population, connectivity, and resources
- Sustainability PBL Unit: explores the ever-increasing water, fossil fuel, and garbage footprints
- Global Priorities Research Project: a 2-option, 2-3 week capstone research project where students complete either a one-pager or research essay on the global issue they find most pressing