You use water every day. It's good for drinking, for washing, for cleaning (ugh!), for swimming, and for lots of other things.
But do you ever think about where our water comes from? Or the different forms water can take?
Try these activities to learn more about water.
Play Water Trivia!
For each numbered question (1-10) find the letter of the correct answer (A-J). Answers are at the bottom of the page.
1 - How long can a person live without water? ______
2 - How much water pipe is there in the US & Canada? ______
3 - What were the first water pipes made of in the US? ______
4 - How much water is used in a 5-minute shower? ______
5 - How much water does one person use in a day? ______
6 - How much of the earth's surface is water? ______
7 - How much of the earth's surface water is drinkable? ______
8 - Water freezes at what temperature? ______
9 - Water boils at what temperature? ______
10 - How much of the human body is water? ______
A - Hollowed out logs
B - 80%
C - About 1 week
D - 66%
E - 1%
F - 32 degrees F, 0 degrees C
G - About a million miles
H - 25-50 gallons
I - 212 degrees F, 100 degrees C
J - 50 gallons
You can "make" water!
Water is a chemical. It's made of two gases, hydrogen and oxygen. Water acts like a gas sometimes (when it evaporates) but we usually think of water as a liquid – something wet.
You can make hydrogen and oxygen join to form water. Here's how.
You will need:
- a birthday candle
- a plate
- a clear drinking glass
- a match or lighter
- an adult to help you with the match or lighter
1. Set the birthday candle on the plate and light it (ask an adult to help).
2. Cover the burning candle with the clear glass (it should be large enough to cover the whole candle).
3. When the candle goes out, look closely at the inside of the glass. What do you see?
The tiny drops of liquid inside the glass are water! The hydrogen in the candle joined with the oxygen in the air to form water. The candle flame went out when all of the oxygen in the air inside the glass was used up.
Wood, paper, natural gas, heating oil, and gasoline all contain hydrogen, which joins with the oxygen in the air as they burn. Do you think burning any of these fuels will form water?
- Every person in America uses about 160 gallons of water a day.
- 2/3 of the water your family uses is used in the bathroom.
- You use 2 gallons of water to brush your teeth (unless you turn off the faucet while you brush).
You can pull water out of thin air!
Water can be a gas (water vapor) that's part of the air around us. You can't see it, so how do you know it's there? Try this.
You will need:
- a drinking glass
- ice cubes
1. Fill a dry glass with ice cubes and water.
2. Go and do something else for about 15 minutes.
3. When you come back, look at the outside of the glass.
4. Run your finger over the outside of the glass. What do you feel?
The tiny drops on the outside of the glass are water that has condensed from the air. Some of the water vapor in the air changed to liquid when it touched the cold glass. What do you think will happen if you empty the glass and let it stand? Where does the water in a puddle go when the sun comes out?
| Less than 1 percent of all the water on earth is available or clean enough to drink. The rest is salty or frozen.
You can make your own rain gauge!
Maybe you've heard on the weather that an inch of rain fell in the last storm or a half-inch of rain might fall tomorrow. A rain gauge is a tool that measures the amount of rain that falls.
You can make a rain gauge to find out how much water falls in your yard (or anywhere else!) the next time it rains.
|You will need:
- a clear plastic soda bottle
- a pair of scissors
- a permanent marker with a sharp point
- small stones or aquarium gravel
1. Cut off the top part of the bottle (you may want to ask an adult to help).
2. Fill the curved part of the bottom of the bottle with small stones or aquarium gravel. This will weight your rain gauge to keep it from falling over.
3. Pour enough water into the bottle to cover the stones. Use the marker to draw a line at the top surface of the water.
4. Mark a "0" next to the line. This is your baseline.
5. Use the ruler and marker to measure 1", 2", and 3" up the bottle from the baseline. Draw a line at each inch mark and label the lines. (Tip: you may want to empty the water out of the bottle before doing this, so you can lay the bottle on its side to measure.)
6. Use the ruler and marker to measure and mark ½", 1 ½", and 2 ½".
7. If you want to make your rain gauge more accurate, use the ruler and marker to measure and mark ¼", ¾", 1 ¼", 1 ¾", etc. on the bottle.
8. Wait for rain!
9. When the weather forecast predicts rain, or rain starts falling, add water to your rain gauge up to the baseline.
10. Put the rain gauge outside to catch the rainwater.
11. When the rain stops, check to see how many inches of rain fell into your rain gauge!
You may want to make a chart to keep track of how much rain falls in a week or a month. On the chart, list the date it rained and how many inches of rain fell. Add up the rainfall at the end of the week or month.
Important! Be sure the rain gauge is filled to the baseline before you begin collecting.
You can clean dirty water!
One of the steps in making lake water clean and pure is called filtration. How does it work? Try this.
You will need:
- a paper towel
- a funnel
- clean sand (from the beach or the sandbox)
- 2 clear glasses or jars
- a spoon
- dirt from the back yard
1. Cut a circle from the paper towel. Fold it in half, then in half again.
2. Open the folded circle a little to make a paper cone.
3. Put the cone inside the funnel and set the funnel in one of the glasses or jars.
4. Fill the cone with clean sand.
5. Fill the other jar with water. Add 3 or 4 spoonfuls of dirt to the water and stir it.
6. Slowly pour the muddy water into the sand in the funnel.
7. Look at the water coming out of the funnel.
The funnel filled with sand is a filter. What happened to the dirt as the muddy water passed through the filter? Is the water in the bottom jar clear? Or is it still a little bit muddy? If it still looks muddy, the dirt particles were small enough to pass through the spaces between the sand in the filter.
That's why more than one kind of filtration is used at the water treatment plant. Do you think your sand filter would remove germs from the water? (Hint: how big are germs?)
Water treatment removes dirt and germs from lake water
You can make water "grow"!
When water gets cold enough it turns into a solid. Then we call it ice. Want to see water grow?
You will need:
1. Clean out the milk carton.
- a small cardboard milk carton (save one from your lunch at school)
- a stapler
- a freezer
2. Fill the carton all the way to the top with water.
3. Staple the top of the carton shut.
4. Put the carton full of water in the freezer overnight.
5. Look at the carton full of ice.
Is your carton full of ice – or more than full? Does the frozen or solid water take up more space than the water you started with? When water freezes it expands, or takes up more space than it did as a liquid.
||The water on the earth today is the same as the water that was here when the Earth was formed and when the dinosaurs lived. We keep using the same water over and over and over.
You can make a miniature water cycle!
You've seen that water can be a liquid, a gas, or a solid. Outside, water is always changing from liquid to gas and back again. This process is called the water cycle. You can see how the water cycle works.
The Water Cycle
The sun's heat makes water evaporate from streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans. The water vapor rises. When it reaches cooler air, it condenses to form clouds. When the clouds are full of water, or saturated, they release some of the water as rain.
You will need:
1. Put the bowl in a sunny place outside.
- a large metal or plastic bowl
- a pitcher or bucket
- a sheet of clear plastic wrap
- a dry ceramic mug (like a coffee mug)
- a long piece of string or large rubber band
2. Using the pitcher or bucket, pour water into the bowl until it is about ¼ full.
3. Place the mug in the center of the bowl. Be careful not to splash any water into it.
4. Cover the top of the bowl tightly with the plastic wrap.
5. Tie the string around the bowl to hold the plastic wrap in place.
6. Watch the bowl to see what happens.
The "mist" that forms on the plastic wrap will change into larger drops of water that will begin to drip. (You can speed up the dripping by carefully moving the bowl – don't splash! – into the shade.) When this happens, continue watching for a few minutes, then carefully peel back the plastic. Is the coffee mug still empty? Water from the "ocean" of water in the bowl evaporated. It condensed to form misty "clouds" on the plastic wrap. When the clouds became saturated it "rained" into the mug!
||Families turn on faucets about 70 times a day. (National Drinking Water Alliance, Blue Thumb Campaign).
You can be a "water detective"!
Investigate to find out how much water a leaky faucet wastes in one day. Find out if there are any leaky faucets in your house.
You will need:
- a faucet
- a watch or clock
- a piece of paper
- a pencil or pen
- a one-cup measuring cup
- a bucket
- a pitcher or watering can
1. Turn on a sink or bathtub faucet just enough to make it drip. (If there is a faucet in your house that really leaks, use that one.)
2. Write down the time.
3. Place the bucket under the dripping faucet.
4. Leave it there for one hour, then turn off the faucet. (Or move the bucket away from the leaky faucet.)
5. Fill the measuring cup by pouring from the bucket or dipping the cup into the bucket.
6. Empty the cup into the pitcher or watering can. Write down the amount of water you measured.
7. Keep pouring and measuring until the bucket is empty.
8. Count the number of cups of water. (If you lost count, repeat the pouring and measuring from the pitcher or watering can.)
9. Multiply the number of cups collected in one hour by 24 hours in a day. Look at the chart to see how many cups of water make one gallon, then divide this number into the number of cups you collected to find out how many gallons of water the dripping faucet would waste in a day. Use the water in the pitcher or watering can to water flower beds or houseplants.
10. Check all of the faucets in your house or apartment (don't forget outside faucets!) to see if any of them leak
IMPORTANT! Talk to the adults at your house about getting leaky faucets fixed. Usually a faucet that leaks just needs a new rubber washer.
How many cups in . . . ?
- You could survive about a month without food, but you could only survive 5 or 6 days without water.
- One gallon of gasoline spilled on the ground can pollute 750,000 gallons of water.
Faulty faucet facts
Even a small drip can waste more than 50 gallons of water a day.
50 gallons of water will flush a toilet 8 or more times.
50 gallons of water will run a dishwasher twice on full cycle.
50 gallons of water is enough for a shower.
50 gallons of water will make 200 quarts of lemonade
Water Word Search
Find these water related words in the box below. Words may read up and down, sideways, or diagonally. They may also be backwards or upside down! Click here for a printable version of the puzzle and here for the answers.
RAIN, WATER, CYCLE, FAUCET, ICE, CLOUD, DRIP, ONTARIO, GALLON, LAKE, MCWA, WASH, DRINK, PUDDLE, SAVE, HOSE, STEAM, FILL
- To stay healthy, you need 2-3 quarts of water each day.
- Your body is 2/3 water.
- Your brain is ¾ water.
- A tree is ¾ water.
Super Water Saver Secret
You can save several gallons of water every day with one simple action. How? Turn off the faucet while you are brushing your teeth!
Find out how much water you can save!
You will need:
- the sink where you brush your teeth
- a large bucket or other container that will fit under the faucet*
- a measuring cup
- your toothbrush & toothpaste
1. Put the empty bucket under the faucet.
2. Brush your teeth like you always do.
3. Leave the water running while you brush.
4. Turn off the water when you finish brushing.
5. Pour the water from the bucket into the measuring cup. (Or you can dip the cup in the bucket.) Write down 1 cup, then empty the measuring cup.
6. Keep filling and emptying the measuring cup (write down how many times) until the bucket is empty.
7. Look at the chart to find out how many cups are in a quart. Divide the number of cups of water you collected in the bucket by this number to find out how many quarts of water would have gone down the drain if you hadn't caught it in the bucket. How many quarts are in a gallon? Did you collect more than a gallon of water in the bucket while you brushed?
The next time you brush your teeth:
1. Put the empty bucket under the faucet.
2. Brush your teeth like you always do, except this time, turn off the faucet when you are not using the water to wet or rinse your toothbrush or to fill a cup to rinse your mouth.
3. Measure the water in the bucket like you did before.
4. How much water would have gone down the drain if you hadn't caught it in the bucket?
5. Subtract the amount of water collected when you turned off the faucet while brushing from the amount of water collected when you let the water run. This is how much water you save by turning off the water while you brush your teeth!
6. Multiply this amount by the number of times you brush your teeth in a day to see how much water you can save, all by your self, every day, with the simple action of turning off the faucet!
7. How much water can you save in a week? How much would be saved if everyone who lives in your house turned off the water while they brushed their teeth?
*If you can't get a large enough bucket under the faucet, close the drain in the sink and collect the water. Dip the water out of the sink to measure the amount. You may miss a little bit at the bottom of the sink.
More easy ways for kids to save water:
1. Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. Don't let the faucet run while you wait for cool water to drink.
2. Don't use the toilet as a trash can. Throw tissues, bugs, and paper towels in the garbage instead of flushing.
3. Use a broom to clean the sidewalk and driveway instead of the hose.
4. Use a washcloth to wash your face. Turn off the water while you scrub.
5. Wash your hands by wetting them, then turning off the faucet while you soap up. Turn the water on again when you are ready to rinse.
A special Kids Page is making a debut on the Web site of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water. The star of pages is a new character called “Thirstin.” The site contains games, activities and narrated/animated classroom experiments. Some of the new activities include an animated water cycle, word scramble, word search, water trivia and “Thirstin's Wacky Water Adventure.” Teachers and students can work on-line or download some of the information for classroom use. The new pages are located at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/kids/index.html
Play Water Trivia!:Answers
1-C, 2-G, 3-A, 4-H, 5-J, 6-B, 7-E, 8-F, 9-I, 10-D