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Wednesday May 25, 2016 at 3:28pm Age: 2 yrs
Category: Otisville Elementary


How much water makes up planet Earth? How much water per minute comes through your shower head? How much water does it take to make a chocolate bar? Fourth grade classes at Otisville elementary found surprising answers to these and other questions during a week-long program on water conservation, May 16-20.


Facilitated by the Orange County Water Authority (OCWA), the water conservation program is specifically designed for fourth grade students and uses a variety of engaging learning activities. On day one, students were introduced to the elements of the water cycle and discussed how water is constantly being recycled on Earth. They learned that the water we drink and use today was around millions of years ago – it may even be the same water the dinosaurs drank!


An interactive game allowed students to discover for themselves that the Earth is mostly made of water in various states (water, ice and vapor) and realize how critical water is to the planet and our daily lives. Other games involved estimating the water needed to produce everyday items, such as a slice of bread (12 gal.), a sheet of loose-leaf paper (3.5 gal.), or a chocolate bar (425 gal.).


“I was very surprised to learn it takes over 2,500 gallons of water to make a pair of jeans. With this knowledge, I might try to reduce water waste and help my family do the same,” Sophia said.


During an outdoor scavenger hunt, students were challenged to find a list of items related to the water cycle: three things that need water to survive; one nonliving thing; one aquatic habitat; an example of condensation; and they were asked to predict the likelihood and type of precipitation to fall on that day.


The OCWA educator used a water-table model to demonstrate what happens to groundwater. Students observed layers of clay and sand beneath the topsoil and learned how water permeates through those layers to form wells.


The program involved cooperative learning groups, the use of compelling visuals, and constant math calculations. 


“It was a really wonderful experience for our students, and I think it brought a greater awareness and appreciation for the Earth's most valuable resource,” said 4th grade teacher, Erica Alders.