Tasks to be completed:
- Complete the video
- Follow along with the activity
- Complete the discussion prompt at the end of this page
- 4 cups and 6 teaspoons of water
- 1 Teaspoon
- 4 containers (at least 1 large one)
OR (if you don’t have access to the supplies listed above)
- Writing Utensil
- This lesson “A Drop in the Bucket” was borrowed from Project WET
- Virtual Lesson Students Can Complete at Home (Project WET)
- Similar activity to this one
How close were your estimates? Did any of the numbers shock you or were you pretty familiar with these numbers?
Colette Hunt - June 30, 2020
I wasn’t as close as I thought I would be. I knew that saltwater made up the majority of water left on earth so I left most water in there. I put too much water in the rest though. I thought that ice would be a bigger source than it actually was. I put about a 1/4 cup in the ice container. I was much closer on the freshwater ones but still put too much in each cup. I put a few teaspoons in the unavailable water and 1 teaspoon in the available water. I knew that we have very little freshwater available to use but I didn’t think it was just a drop, that surprised me when looking at it.
Samantha Pierce - June 30, 2020
Likewise Colette – I was WAY off. I understand that largest portion of our water is in the form of saltwater. I thought that snow and ice would be large portions of pie.
It is really tough to believe that our world survives on the “one drop” of usable water – great lesson for students! I am stealing!
Andy Russell - July 1, 2020
I was close, but not quite there. I had 97% salt, 2% ice, 0.6% unusable groundwater, 0.4% usable. Better update my class notes for next year!
Benita Wilson - July 13, 2020
I have done a similar activity with students before (although I like this one where they’re actually guessing first – I’m going to use that this year!). I was off a bit. I thought the amount of usable fresh water was 3% but it is actually .003%.
Kiera Mekelburg - July 14, 2020
My estimates were ordered correctly from greatest to least, but I gave too much water to the other categories and did not leave enough in the salt water. I thought that there would be more water in the ice and glacier category, as well as at least a few drops in the fresh water. This was a great visual of how much water we have and how much we can utilize.
Marissa Jordening - July 16, 2020
I knew the salty water should be the greatest by a large amount, but my measurements for the lesser 3 categories were totally off! It was surprising to me that so much of the water is salty and how little is truly usable for us. I think this is a great reminder for responsible water usage if we only have a drop compared to the other categories.
Abigail Seen - July 17, 2020
Here are my estimates: Saltwater 50%, Ice 25%, Unavailable Fresh Water 10%, and Potable Fresh Water 15%. If I switched the placements of Unavailable Fresh Water with Potable Fresh Water, I would have been really close. I just kept remembering that The Earth is composed of 70% water and most of that is saltwater which can’t be accessed for potability, at least not yet.
Chelsie Chacon - July 28, 2020
My estimates were quite off for each amount, however I did separate the water with the most being in salt water, then ice, then unavailable, and finally available. However, I put too much in the last two categories and only put about 3 cups in the salt water.
Ambrette Gilkey - January 5, 2021
Proportionality I had the largest percentage in the salt water category close to correct, but had too much in the available potable water. This really helps me to see from a larger perspective of the earth as a whole and me not being the center of relating to the world. What a great activity to use for kids.