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Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, and Barbara Tharp, MS.

How Do We Use Water?

Water is essential for life, and each of us uses water in many ways. For example, each person needs to have about eight cups of water each day to stay healthy. The water we need can come from liquids we drink and the foods we eat. We also use water to wash dishes and food items, to remove microorganisms that can cause illnesses. We prevent other kinds of diseases when we use water for bathing and for brushing teeth.

However, many daily uses of water are non-essential. We use water to wash our cars or driveways, because they look better when they are clean. We sprinkle our flower gardens and lawns with water, even though we don’t use those plants for food. In addition, we often use more water than necessary to carry out essential tasks. Examples include leaving the water running while brushing teeth, taking long showers or filling the bathtub to the brim before bathing.

This activity will make students aware of the ways they use water each day. Each student will keep a personal Water Use Journal for 24 hours. If desired, students can keep journals over the course of the entire unit, saving all of their worksheets and observations, writings, drawings, magazine clippings, etc., related to water and human health. Such a journal is useful for review and reinforcement. It also can serve as an assessment tool during and at the end of the unit. 


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education