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Water: The Indispensable Resource

Author: Sylvia Kniest
Editor: Stephanie Nardei



Time: 2 class periods
Preparation
Time:
Copy articles for students
Prepare lecture for second class period
Materials: Articles “Will There Be Enough Water” & “Water Conflict Chronology” PDF File of Water Conflict Chronology

 


Abstract
Water is an essential resource for all species survival . Water supply impacts:

  • human and animal habitats
  • economic prosperity
  • the food supply
  • human migration
  • domestic and international relations
Students become aware of how precious water is and build an understanding of the impact it has on the development of societies.

Objectives
Students will be able to:

  1. Explain why water is an indispensable resource in a written essay and class discussion.
  2. Identify at least three examples of where water has been a source of conflict between societies from a reading and display in a chart form.

National Geography Standard
NSS-G.K-12.4 Human Systems

  • Understand how the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface.

NSS-G.K-12.5 Environment and Society

  • Understand how physical systems affect human systems.
  • Understand how human actions modify the physical environment.

Teacher Background
Human development depends on adequate water—a fact that has driven the location of communities, the extent of agriculture, and the shape of industry and transportation for centuries. Because of its central place in our activities, water is also the focus of much engineering activity and investment in the form of dams, canals, pipelines, and irrigation systems. Today, there are more than 45,000 large dams (dams more than 15 meters high) in the world—most of them built in the last 35 years. This storage capacity represents a 700 percent increase in the standing stock of water in river systems since 1950.
(TAKEN FROM
: "WILL THERE BE ENOUGH WATER?" SEE BELOW.)

Related and Resource Websites

Pacific Institute

Pacific Institute The World's Water http://worldwater.org/index.html
“Will There Be Enough Water?” http://earthtrends.wri.org/features/index.cfm?theme=2
Water Conflict Chronology Introduction
PDF File of Water Conflict Chronology

Water Supply

Water Supply Forecasting http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/wsf/
Water Supply on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply

Other Relevant Organizations

International Water Association http://www.iwahq.org/
Department of Environmental Protection Division of Water Supply http://www.state.nj.us/dep/watersupply/index.html

 

 

Activity
Day 1 (One class period):
Introduce the lesson by asking students the following questions:

1. Write down anything you think you need to survive.

a. Cross off anything you do not need on a daily basis.
b. What is left on your list? (Have students share with class and write their responses on the board).

2. Students should have all agreed that water is one of the essential items on the list. Continue the discussion:

a. What would be different in our community if water was rationed? What activities would you have to modify?
Or give up?
c. Would our food supply be affected? How?

Cooperative Reading Activity:

Hand out the article; “Will There Be Enough Water?” Tell students that they will cooperatively read the article up to the section Wiser Management Means More Water
Have students work in groups of three to actively read the article in the following manner *:

  • Student 1 will read the first paragraph and tell the group what the main ideas are. The other students will add their own input. Student 2 will sum up the main idea in one sentence.
  • Student 2 will read the second paragraph and tell the group what the main ideas are. The other students will add their own input. Student 3 will sum up the main idea in one sentence.
  • Student 3 will read the third paragraph and tell the group what the main ideas are. The other students will add their own input. Student 1 will sum up the main idea in one sentence.

Students will continue this process as they read the rest of the article. Tell them that it is important that they all agree on the main idea and that they state it in their own words.

Conclude the activity by having the students share their main ideas. If necessary, hold the discussion on day two.

* Teachers may want to mark off the sections/paragraphs prior to copying the articles for the students.

Day 2 (One class period):

  • Students will address the question: How is water the driving force in maintaining a peaceful coexistence among societies?
  • The teacher may want to use the article: “Water Conflict Chronology Introduction” from the website: http://www.worldwater.org/conflictIntro.htm to prepare a mini-lecture to introduce the activity.
  • Have students get into the same groups as in the previous lesson. Give each group one copy of Water Conflict Chronology1 from the website: http://www.worldwater.org/conflict.htm
  • Tell students that in order to answer the question: How is water the driving force in maintaining a peaceful coexistence among societies?, they must work collaboratively to complete the following chart:
THE ISSUE OF WATER SUPPLY AND CONFLICT BETWEEN GROUPS OF PEOPLE OR SOCIETIES

Year

Water Issue

Groups Involved


Closure    


Students will complete the lesson by discussing the driving question:

How is water the driving force in maintaining a peaceful coexistence among societies?

Embedded Assessment

  1. In class discussion and in a written response to the question: “How is water the driving force in maintaining a peaceful coexistence among societies?” students can be assessed for their comprehension of the importance of water.


  2. Students’ ability to identify from a reading the role of water in conflict can be assessed in their notes within the chart.



PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:


an
NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award

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Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694


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Last update: November 10, 2009
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