Objective: Students will learn that water is used by all segments of a community.
Participants will experience how they feel when they have to take and give up some of
their water supply. Students will see how each major water user can affect, destroy,
waste and use water.
Materials: Now You See It, Now You Don't water game board - enlarged to 11 x 17"
(teacher may want to laminate and copy), One set of Character Cards, 1 set of dice, 185
white beans, 30 red beans, 25 blue beans
Background: Water users - agriculture, mines, industry, residences, business and
wildlife, must all share the same water. Any pollution from one user affects the water for
everyone. All users put different values on their water supply. Drinking water is a
necessity. Water used for farm crops is an economic necessity for the farmer but he
could use less water by planting crops that require less water. Mining and industry need
water in their processing but have developed sophisticated ways to re-use water many
times before it goes down the drain.
In this game, as in real life, once water is unavailable (whether it's polluted, wasted or
over-used) all the users have a price to pay.
The object of the game is to collect as many blue and white beans as possible without
gaining red beans. Students are not expected to win or lose at the end of the game.
Students are to be given a specific amount of time to complete the game. We suggest
one class period with discussion follow-up during the next class period.
Following the completion of the game, ask the students which role they preferred being.
Ask them to imagine how a real farmer, rancher, or homeowner would feel if he/she
were required to give up water or uses more water than his/her neighbors. Have a class
discussion about why the wasted pile grew so quickly.
Blue: represents rewards for being water conscious.
Red: represents pollution to the aquifer or water supply.
White: represents water from both aquifers and surface water.
Setting Up The Game:
A maximum of 6 players can play.
The wasted and weather areas begin the game with no beans in the pile.
Each player and the wildlife pile begin with 15 white beans.
The water supply pile begins with 40 white beans.
The pollution pile begins with 30 red beans.
The reward pile begins with 25 blue beans.
The recharge pile begins with 40 white beans.
The Homeowner starts the game with the first roll of the dice. Play continues to the
homeowner's left unless otherwise specified on the Character Card.
Each player chooses a character card. There are six character cards representing major
water users. Each player must be a separate water user.
Each player takes a turn rolling the dice. The number they roll on the dice corresponds
to the numbers on their character card. For example: player rolls a total of 4 (two 2's or a
3 & 1) then refers to their individual character card for instruction listed beside #4. After
rolling the dice, the player must read his/her situation aloud to the group and then do
what it says.
Wasted Water Pile: Water that is used that may not have been used properly. In wasting
water (using more than you really need) you could contribute to an overdraft of the
supply. This pile shows how fast wasted water accumulates.
Pollution Pile: Any type of polluted water, whether the substance in the water comes
from natural or man-made events.
Wildlife Pile: No single player is responsible for this pile. It is a collective effort of all 6
players to maintain the wildlife.
Water Supply Pile: The water can come from aquifers or from surface sources, like
rivers and lakes. Both the aquifer and surface waters rely on rainfall for replenishment.
Weather Pile: Represents where water is lost or gained due to natural causes.
Recharge Pile: Water which refills the aquifer. Recharge water usually results from rain
Reward Pile: Represents a community citation for being water conscious.
Have students compile their own water/water conservation dictionary. Have them
illustrate as many terms as possible. Have students assemble their dictionaries with an
illustrated cover that demonstrates a specific water topic. Display the water dictionaries
in a school hallway display case.
Put together a "People's Water Court" and stage a mock trial for a major water waster.
Have the class develop their own classroom water law and penalties - forgetting to turn
off water, lose a recess period; letting the water get cold before drinking, write a
conservation poem, etc.
Aquifer: A water bearing stratum of permeable rock, sand, or gravel.
Drought: A long period with no rain.
Erosion: The wearing away of the land surface by wind, water, ice or other geologic
agents. Erosion occurs naturally from weather and runoff but it is often intensified by
human land use practices.
Overdraft: The act of using more groundwater than is recharged. The part of
groundwater withdrawals which exceed recharge are also referred to as groundwater
Pollution: The presence of matter or energy whose nature, location or quantity,
produces undesired effect upon the normally existing environment.
Rainwater harvesting: Capturing rainwater and diverting or storing it for use.
Recharge: The inflow to an aquifer. Natural: water added to an aquifer principally from
rainfall seeping through porous layers of earth. Incidental: water that seeps into the
aquifer after having been used once by humans.
Surface water: Water on the earth's surface exposed to the atmosphere, such as rivers,
lakes, streams, oceans, etc.
Water table: The top of the zone of saturation in the ground, where free water exists in
pores and crevices of the rocks and other earth strata. The level at which water stands in
Social Studies, Reading
SD Standards for 4th grade:
Observation, Interpreting, Applying
Prior Preparation: Students will need
to have a working knowledge of water
conservation and usage. It is important
that students understand water is for
everyone and that anything that affects
water will in some way affect
everyone. Activity ideas include
demonstrating the water cycle process
and conducting experiments
illustrating water percolation through
different types of soils (demonstrating
recharge and water purification).
aquifer, drought, erosion, overdraft,
pollution, rainwater harvesting,
recharge, surface water, water table