Objective: Students will be able to identify ways in which water is wasted and the
positive effects of conservation on water supplies.
Materials: Waterspout game board, Deficit and Surplus cards, markers, paper and
pencils, game pieces (magnetic if used as a whole-class activity), pair of dice
Background: When runoff from precipitation occurs, it goes downhill, eventually
winding up at a point where it gathers, such as in a stream, lake, wetland, or ocean. This
is called surface water, or water you can see.
Surface waters are a major source of usable water on the planet. Surface waters supply
water for drinking, recreation, transportation, crop irrigation, and power generation. Most
of our major cities have grown up around large bodies of surface water.
The United States is water "rich". We have 39,400,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs,
and over 35,000 square miles of estuaries. Even though the US is water rich, this water
is not distributed evenly across the country. Many of the western states contain large
desert areas and limited fresh water supplies. South Dakota is lucky to have not only a
large supply of groundwater resources, but many areas of the State are "rich" in surface
water resources as well.
(For younger students: Have students color the Waterspout Game Board). Teacher
should laminate the game board prior to starting, as students will write on it as part of the
This game is designed to be used as either a small group activity or as a whole-class
learning experience. If used as a small group activity, a maximum of 6 players should be
used. If used as a whole-class activity, teacher may wish to affix it to the chalkboard and
divide class into two teams.
This game is played with basically the same rules as "Monopoly".
Playing The Game:
After the board has been laminated, place "Deficit" and "Surplus" cards face down on
the designated squares in the middle of the board.
Place player (team) game pieces on the corner showing Wendy Water saying "Go!".
Each student (team) receives 1,000 liters of water from the bank (written on a piece of
paper). Teacher will need to designate a banker. The banker's job is to keep score of
each player's (team) liter count. As there is no "water money", it will be necessary for the
banker to add and subtract obtained/lost liters of on a separate sheet of paper.
Each player (team) rolls the dice. The player (team) with the highest total starts. The
player (team) rolls the dice and moves the game piece in a clockwise direction the
number of spaces shown on the dice.
After a player (team) has moved and collected or paid out liters, the player's (team's)
turn is complete. The player (team) to the left plays next.
Any player (team) who owes more water than they have is out of the game. The last
player (team) with water is the better water steward.
Explanation Of The Squares On The Board:
Surplus Square: The player (team) takes one card from the top of the deck. The player
(team) is paid from the bank, unless otherwise indicated on the card. The card is then
returned, face down, to the bottom of the pile.
Deficit Square: The player (team) takes one card from the top of the deck. The player
(team) pays the bank, unless otherwise indicated on the card. The card is then returned,
face down, to the bottom of the pile.
Property Square: The player (team) may buy the property if it is not already owned by
another player (team) by paying the larger amount printed on the board. The buyer's
name is written on the property square and the liters are paid to the bank. If the property
is already owned by a player (team) - has another player's (team's) name on it - a user
fee is paid. The user fee is the smaller amount indicated on the property. The user fee
is paid to the owner of the property.
Rural Water System Squares: The player (team) may buy a rural water system if it is not
already owned by another player (team) by paying the larger amount printed on the
board. The buyer's name is written on the rural water system and the liters are paid to
the bank. If the system is already owned by a player (team) - has another player's
(team's) name on it - a user fee is paid to the owner of the system. If the same player
(team) manages to purchase all four rural water systems, the user fees are doubled to
anyone (other than the owner) who lands on any of the rural water system squares.
Bonus Squares: The player (team) who lands on any of the many bonus squares (for
example: Visit Local Water Festival square or the Oahe Reservoir square) is entitled to
additional liters of water that is deposited into their account.
Go To The Badlands Square: The player (team) is moved to the Badlands square and
remains there until the player (team) pays 100 liters of water to the bank or until the
player (team) rolls the dice and gets the same number on both dice (doubles). The
player (team) rolls the dice when sent to the Badlands square and once every turn after
Make up your own surplus and deficit cards to make the game more area specific.
Some examples of additional cards may be: planted trees along (local) wetlands
boundaries to attract additional wildlife, gain 100 liters; helped to bag sand at (local
lake's) shores to keep homes from being flooded, gain 50 liters; etc.
Research to find out: Who owns water resources in the United States? Can you buy a
river or a lake? Can you buy land adjoining a river or lake?
Discuss who has the right to pollute water resources.
Invite a local water conservation officer (for example: municipal utilities director or rural
water manager) to visit the classroom and explain who can help conserve water in your
area and how to accomplish those conservation goals.
Conservation: A careful preservation and protection of a natural resource to prevent
exploitation, destruction or neglect.
Contamination: the state of having a substance introduced into the air, water, or soil that
reduces its usefulness to humans and other organisms in nature.
Deficit: a shortage of water.
Evaporation: the act or process of converting or changing into a vapor with the
application of heat.
Irrigation: to supply (dry land) with water by means of ditches, pipes, or streams.
Precipitation: water droplets or ice particles condensed from atmospheric water vapor
and sufficiently massive to fall to the earth's surface, such as rain or snow.
Runoff: water (originating as precipitation) that flows across surfaces rather than soaking
Transpiration: direct transfer of water from the leaves of living plants or the skins of
animals into the atmosphere.
Activity adapted from: Groundwater: Illinois' Buried Treasure Education Activity Guide, Illinois Department of Natural
Social Studies, Math, Reading,
SD Standards for 4th grade:
4.M.1.1; 4.A.3.1; 4.A.1.3; 4.A.4.1;
4.R.1.2; 4.R.2.1; 4.R.1.1
4.US.1.2; 4.G.1.2; 4.C.2.1
Computation, Inference, Reading
Prior Preparation: Prior to this
activity, students should become
familiar with the water cycle and the
difference between surface water and
groundwater. An introduction to this
activity might be the Returning
Raindrop from The Water Sourcebook.
conservation, contamination, deficit,
evaporation, irrigation, precipitation,