Objective: Students will use their problem-solving skills to design a home where water is conserved through the use of their "invented" ideas/concepts.

Materials: Pencils, markers, crayons, colored pencils (drawing materials), Tag board

Background: Water is a natural resource that we all share. Many people do not realize how much water is used in the home each day. Although most people understand that conserving water will save money and make clean water supplies last longer, they do not have a lot of ideas on how to implement water conservation concepts in their own homes.

Either in teams or individually, the students are to design the interior of the Conservation Chateau.

The chateau will have two bedrooms, one living room, one bathroom, one kitchen, and a laundry and cleaning area.

The students have to address the use of water in these areas:
Kitchen (where 15% of the water is used)
Bathroom (where 25% of the water is used)
Laundry and cleaning area (where 12% of the water is used)

Students need to design all the water-saving features that go into each room (an example would be installing a faucet that automatically shuts off after using 2.5 gallons of water).

The following is a list of common items found in today's homes:
An average toilet uses 5-7 gallons per flush
A shower can use 5-15 gallons of water per minute
A dishwasher uses 15 gallons per load
A leaky faucet can waste over 3,000 gallons of water in a year
A leaky toilet can waste over 10,000 gallons of water in a year
An average automatic clothes washer uses 35 gallons of water per load

Drawings can be as detailed or as simplistic as needed to elaborate the water saving concepts the groups are trying to distinguish.

Go to the Big Sioux Water Festival web site: www.bigsiouxwaterfestival.org and print out several copies of the game Waterspout. Divide class into small groups and play the game. This is a water conservation game that emphasizes mathematics as a way to understand water conservation.

Invite a representative from the local water utility to talk to students about water conservation and consumption.

Have students research and discuss improvements in plumbing that can be used in water conservation, such as water-saving showerheads, water-saving toilets, sprinkler systems, and dry-land landscapes.

Vocabulary Glossary:
Conservation: A careful preservation and protection of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction or neglect.
Gravity: The quality of having weight.
Water Pressure: The amount of force it takes to move water along or through a pipe or surface.
Grade Level:

Subject Areas:
Math, Social Studies, Visual Arts

SD Standards for 4th grade:
4.M.1.1; 4.A.3.1

Social Studies

Visual Arts
Standard 1


Problem solving, Creative thinking,

Prior Preparation: Students should have a basic understanding of the water cycle. Explain that water used now was used in the prehistoric times and that it is important to conserve our clean water resources for future generations. The "Waste Not, Want Not" activity in The Watersource Book is a good introduction to water conservation.

water pressure, gravity, conservation
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