Introduce the lesson by asking students
the following questions:
1. Has anyone ever drunk contaminated water? What were
the circumstances? (drinking out of a stream when hiking,
drinking untreated water in a foreign country, etc.)
What possible illnesses can you get if you drink water
from an unknown or unsafe source?
Next share some of the statistics from the UNICEF
Fact Sheet: http://www.unicef.org/voy/explore/wes/explore_1856.html
Have students read the story, “The Essence of Life
and Chemical Pollution” from http://www.unicef.org/voy/explore/wes/explore_1856.html
Once they have read the article, students will
discuss the following questions in small groups:
1. What are the man-made and natural causes
of water contamination?
2. Why is water contamination everybody’s problem
as the article states?
3. What are some health issues related
to unsanitary water?
4. How does the insufficient supply of
sanitary water impact people’s daily lives? Brainstorm and list
as many examples as you can think of.
After groups have had time to discuss the
article, discuss the questions as
a class. Have each
group share their
list from question #4. Write the
student responses on the board.
Tell students that in order for them
to understand the direct impact that
of clean drinking
have on their lives, they will participate
in the following situation:
Imagine that there is a severe shortage of
clean drinking water at your school. There is only
one sanitary drinking fountain in the school. All
of the other
fountains have been polluted with a contaminant—lead. All other sources
of drinking water have also been contaminated (water bottles, etc.). Therefore
the only source of drinking water is the one drinking fountain located at (teacher
will provide the location in their school). When you want a drink you must go
to that water fountain. Tomorrow you will discuss how this situation impacted
Discuss the impact that the water supply problem
had on students during the previous day. In what ways were
students inconvenienced (Lines at the safe drinking fountain,
changing their usual path to class, etc.)?
Tell students that in the next lessons they will investigate
how water can become contaminated and how communities are
attempting to clean up their water supplies.