2B. Water Availability


Tasks to be completed:

  1. Complete the video
  2. Follow along with the activity
  3. Complete the discussion prompt at the end of this page


  • 4 cups and 6 teaspoons of water
  • 1 Teaspoon
  • Pipette
  • 4 containers (at least 1 large one)

OR (if you don’t have access to the supplies listed above)

  • Paper
  • Writing Utensil



Discussion Prompt:

How close were your estimates?  Did any of the numbers shock you or were you pretty familiar with these numbers?

wellwatchadmin2B Water Availability


Join the conversation
  • 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.

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