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Water Is Essential to Life

Make a board game demonstrating all the reasons why clean water resources are so important.

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Compile a chart to show ways that plants, animals, and people use water. Find out how much water is essential to sustain life for selected species. How much does a cow drink in a day? How much do humans use? Identify sources of water in various climates. What are some obstacles to obtaining water? (drought, low water tables, floods, lack of transport) Find out how water is moved and stored in various parts of the world (truck, pipes, irrigation canals, dams, aqueducts, ground water, lakes). Discuss the importance of clean water, and consider the possibilities of desalinization.
    2. Work in small groups to create original board games called "Water Is Essential to Life." Teams demonstrate their knowledge of water resources as they select a geographic setting (desert, Arctic, rainforest, farm, city, local community), identify obstacles to obtaining water (with spaces on the board or trouble cards), and offer solutions for getting enough water to where it is needed.
    3. Teams design a board game, and any cards needed to play it, on poster board or recycled cardboard using Crayola® Markers and Scissors. Make three-dimensional game props, such as markers, dice, playing pieces, and elements of the setting with Crayola Model Magic. Use Crayola Watercolors or Tempera Paint and Brushes to add details to the game, such as dots on dice or directions on cards. Use Crayola School Glue or Glue Sticks to attach pieces.
    4. Test play the games and write the rules on paper with Crayola Colored Pencils.
    5. Rotate playing games with less experienced children, so everyone gets to play all the versions. Together, discuss information gained about the world's water resources.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    LA: Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

    LA: Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

    MATH: Represent and interpret data.

    MATH: Perform operations with multi-digit whole numbers and with decimals to hundredths.

    SCI: Describe and graph the amounts and percentages of water and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth.

    SS: Describe and speculate about physical system changes, such as seasons, climate and weather, and the water cycle.

    SS: Explore causes, consequences, and possible solutions to persistent, contemporary, and emerging global issues, such as pollution and endangered species.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: A World in a Drop of Water: Exploring with a Microscope (Dover Children's Science Books) by Alvin Silverstein & Virginia Silverstein; Our World of Water: Children and Water Around the World by Beatrice Hollyer; One Well: The Story of Water on Earth (CitizenKid) by Rochelle Strauss

    Organize a field trip to a local drinking water and/or sewage processing facility. Students investigate how the water is treated before and after its use.

    Students organize a survey for adults focused on water uses in the community. Prior to taking the survey, students collaborate to write questions for the survey. Word process questions and provide a copy for each student in the class.

    Individual students measure and record how much water they use for daily tasks, such as tooth brushing, with the water running and turned off while brushing. Calculate the average amount of water used per person in the class for this daily task. Multiply this amount by the number of students and adults in the school community. How many gallons of water could be saved with turning off the faucet for this daily task?


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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