ALEX Learning Activity

Global Water Distribution

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Emily Fogleman
System:Hoover City
School:Brock's Gap Intermediate School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1625
Global Water Distribution
Digital Tool/Resource:
Water Distribution Interactive
Web Address – URL:

Although over 70% of Earth's surface is covered with water, only a small portion of this water is available for human consumption. Students can use this interactive tool to view sources of fresh water.

This learning activity was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science University, GEMS-U Project.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 5
15 ) Identify the distribution of freshwater and salt water on Earth (e.g., oceans, lakes, rivers, glaciers, ground water, polar ice caps) and construct a graphical representation depicting the amounts and percentages found in different reservoirs.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.5.15- Identify the distribution of freshwater and saltwater on Earth (e.g., oceans, lakes, rivers, glaciers, ground water, polar ice caps).

SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 5
16 ) Collect and organize scientific ideas that individuals and communities can use to protect Earth's natural resources and its environment (e.g., terracing land to prevent soil erosion, utilizing no-till farming to improve soil fertility, regulating emissions from factories and automobiles to reduce air pollution, recycling to reduce overuse of landfill areas).

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.5.16- Identify a human action that can help the environment.

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will identify sources of fresh water available for consumption.
  • Students will understand the need for water conservation due to the limited fresh water supply.
  • Students will explore strategies for conserving water at home.
  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

This learning activity can be used to provide students with a visual resource of the available freshwater on earth. 

The teacher can display this interactive for all students to view and discuss as a whole group, or students may use this graphic independently to analyze and interpret the data for other related activities. Possible discussion topics are noted below. 

After exploring the graphic, the teacher may choose to cover some or all of the topics below or discussion/exploration using information from the graphic.

  • Water conservation- Why is it important that we protect our natural resource of freshwater? (limited freshwater supply) 
  • What is the source of the majority of our fresh water?
  • Students can evaluate their own water usage and impact on surrounding freshwater sources by charting their water usage throughout the day and estimating how many liters/gallons are used for each activity. (The teacher may provide approximate data for things like brushing teeth or flushing the toilet and have students analyze their daily usage data.)
  • Identify freshwater sources within the local community--How can we protect them? You may use this final question/exploration to connect this activity to strategies for preservation of Earth's natural resources (Standard 16) if desired. Students may choose to create mini-posters for school/public bathrooms that remind users to turn the water off while scrubbing hands, brushing teeth, etc. in order to promote awareness of the limited resources of freshwater available.

**This activity incorporates personally relevant projects, life sciences, and opportunities for students to use 21st Century skills such as communication and critical thinking.

Assessment Strategies:

This activity can be used to provide students with data on freshwater sources on Earth. In order to assess student understanding the teacher may ask students to produce a different type of graph to display this information (example: a pie chart within a pie chart). 

Advanced Preparation:

*Make sure the interactive is compatible with your browser before beginning the learning activity.

*Identify local freshwater sources to discuss with students. 

Variation Tips (optional):
Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: