Pedagogy in Action > Library > Process of Science > Browse examples for Teaching the Process of Science > How Much Water Do I Use?

How Much Water Do I Use?

Dave Gosselin, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Author Profile

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see

This page first made public: Jun 22, 2009


This activity provides an opportunity for the student to collect data on their individual water use to set the stage for a unit on water resources.

Learning Goals

The goals of this project are to:
  1. Provide an individualized context for water resource use and availability to help the student understand the importance and limitation of water resources as well as strategies for sustainable use; and
  2. Provide the student the opportunity to develop data collection methods.
  3. Analyze data. Integrate individual data with larger scale data.
  4. Collect water-use data. Search the WWW, write personal reflection, exchange ideas orally.

Context for Use

This is a stand-alone activity that is intended to be used at the beginning of a unit related to the occurrence, distribution, and use of water resources.

Description and Teaching Materials

This activity consists of three parts. In part 1, students develop data collection techniques and keep track of how much water they you use over 24 hours. In part 2, they will use web-based resources to collect information about water-use in the United States. In part 3, they will connect their water use to national water use information and formulate their plans to develop and justify a prioritized a list of the three most important things they feel need to be done to deal with current and future water issues.

Teaching Notes and Tips


To evaluate, I would examine their water data collection techniques and their ability to be reproduced by other students in the class. I would also focus on the extent to which the students can put their personal water-use into the context of national water-use information. Lastly, I would look how well they justify their list of important things to do related to water-resource issues.

References and Resources

Activity: How much water do I use? (Microsoft Word 35kB Jun21 09)