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4-H Science Blast Activities: Where Is All the Water?


May 7, 2020 -

Educational Elements

Key Concept:

Water use and conservation habits


The Where is All the Water? lesson is designed for leaders to help participants understand where water comes from and its unique qualities as well as how to conserve water efficiently. Participants will work in groups to simulate the distribution of water on a global scale and then log their own personal water use.

Age Level:

Ages 10 to 14

Life Skills:

Problem solving, critical thinking, wise use of resources, responsible citizenship

Success Indicators:

After completing this lesson, participants should be able to: 

  • Recognize the distribution of water worldwide. 
  • Explain some important qualities of water. 
  • Identify their public water source. 
  • Calculate personal water use at home and at school. 
  • Specify the amount of water used by water devices and water practices. 
  • Name ways to become more water efficient.

Materials & Methods

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Lesson Time: Two 45-minute sessions

Space: Anywhere


  • One gallon jug of water (one for each group of participants)
  • Paper cups (5–10 for each group)
  • Markers
  • “Water Use Quiz Questions” handout (one copy)
  • Scissors
  • “Water Use Chart” worksheet (one for each participant)
  • Newsprint or marker board
  • Measuring cup (one for each group of participants)
  • Teaspoon (one for each group of participants)
  • Eyedropper (one for each group of participants)
  • “The Water Cycle” diagram (one for each group of participants)
  • Pencils (one for each participant)
  • Paper (one for each group)

Background Information:

Water is a necessary component to sustain life. Every living organism requires water to live. Two-thirds of the earth is covered by water, and the human body is composed of approximately 70 percent water. The Great Lakes region is blessed with an abundance of fresh water; 20 percent of the entire world’s freshwater is in the Great Lakes and 50 percent of that is in Lake Superior alone. Other parts of the country, such as California where water is rationed, are water deficient. Water is valuable for everyday life, yet we often take water for granted by taking excessively long showers, leaving the faucet on while brushing our teeth, or using the dishwasher for only a few dishes. This water is wasted down the drain! It is helpful to monitor water use and determine what habits can be improved to become more water efficient.


  • Atmosphere – The mass of air surrounding the earth.
  • Capacity – The potential for holding, storing, or accommodating.
  • Capillary movement – The ability of a liquid to move.
  • Groundwater – Water found under the ground, in aquifers and between soil particles.
  • Hydrologic or water cycle – Cyclical movement of water from the earth (ground, trees and surface water) through the atmosphere and back to earth as precipitation.
  • Polar caps – Dome-shaped sheets of ice covering the North and South poles.
  • Solvent – A substance able to dissolve other substances.
  • Vaporization – The transition of turning a liquid into a gas.
  • Viscosity – The property of water that resists the force that causes it to flow.


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