3A: Water Use


Tasks to be completed:

  1. Warm Up Activity
  2. Complete the presentation
  3. Discussion Prompt


  • Cards from baggie 5

Warm Up Activity



Food Preservation   

Transporting Water


Fire Fighting             

Click here to view the answer key and card descriptions.

This activity can be incorporated into the classroom by creating a history trunk as well.  Project WET created a “Liquid Treasure” of North Dakota’s Water History that introduces individuals to the history of our water use.  The trunk included historic stories, photographs and artifacts including a Victory model washboard, a stomper handheld clothes washer, ice card and tongs, water bag and many others.  If this is something you are interested in, we’d be happy to put something together for your class.


Karen Scopel, Environmental Planner for the City of Greeley Natural Areas & Trails Division and Board Member of Poudre Heritage Alliance, was not available to join us this summer due to the current circumstances.  She forwarded this video to us to use in place of her presentation.

The City of Greeley has several monitoring wells located along the Cache La Poudre River.  They are inviting teachers and students in the Well Watch Program to test these monitoring wells.  These wells could be utilized by testing several wells along the river to investigate the differences between each point.  If this is something you are interested in, just let us know!  We’d be happy to test the wells and forward you the data if you cannot make it out to the location.

Please watch the first 15 minutes of this video.  You may watch the entire video, but it’s not required.

Discussion Prompt:

Our water use has evolved quite a bit over time.  Were you familiar with all the water practices illustrated on the cards or presented in Karen’s presentation?  Were you surprised by any of the information presented in this portion?

wellwatchadmin3A: Water Use


Join the conversation
  • Colette Hunt - July 10, 2020

    I figured out pretty quickly three of the cards, fire, bathing and transporting water. The last one, food preservation, got me. I was thinking about the refrigerator putting water out, not storing food or how water played a role in food preserving. I wasn’t really surprised by most of the things in Karen’s presentation. I knew that water quality had always been a big issue due to different diseases. I never really thought about fires and the important role that water plays. I know water puts out fires but when I think back to generations before me and how big of an issue fire really was. The other thing that struck me is how prior generations thought to get and bring clean water to us from quite a distance away. How did they know that the water from there would be any better than what they saw in the river before them? I looked at that water pipe made of wood and wire around it and thought that was pretty ahead of its time in many ways.

  • Benita Wilson - July 15, 2020

    I liked how this activity touched on not only water use but history as well to see how this vital resource has been used throughout history. I was familiar with most of these water practices. The picture of the Native Americans confused me a bit because I thought they were drying clothes instead of meat. Once that was made clear in the answer key, it made more sense.

    I did not know much about the history of the Poudre River being used for water in Fort Collins and Greeley. I found it fascinating that even after adding filters, they still experienced disease and changed filters throughout the years to keep the water safe.

  • Andy Russell - July 19, 2020

    I enjoyed this activity, though it took me a few attempts to sort the cards, and I did have to check the hint! But there was lots of good trivia there – I didn’t realize that the modern shower predated the bathtub. It’s interesting how far back some ideas (refrigeration, firefighting) go and how people in ancient times were able to find decent workarounds for their problems. A child might have found themself hauling blocks of ice around the city! This is certainly a good springboard activity that I look forward to incorporating into my curriculum for this year.

    I didn’t know much of the information in the presentation. It’s both interesting that Greeley once had poor water, given its smaller population, and surprising that it went on to be literally award-winning. Good job, everyone.

  • Kiera Mekelburg - July 21, 2020

    The warm up activity with the cards was a great way to engage me into this lesson. I never have thought of the role of water in food preserving or firefighting until now. Truly the only background I have of firefighting history is from the Little Rascals movie when they do the bucket brigade. Looking back, I realize how important it is for us to have developed a firefighting organization to ensure the safety of our land and people, especially in times of little rain.
    Similar to the comments above, I did not know that the Poudre River had poor water quality and all of the work that had to go into it to provide our area with fresh water.

  • Marissa Jordening - July 21, 2020

    The warm up cards were a great visual for all the ways we use water. When first brainstorming water use, I thought of using it for agriculture, but I didn’t consider the food preservation aspect of it. Water truly is a crucial part of daily life.
    I thought Karen’s presentation was interesting and made me reflect on how our water got to what it now is. I did not know much about the history of the Poudre River, but now I have a new appreciation for the water access and quality we now have.

  • Abigail Seen - July 22, 2020

    How easy and creative this activity is, that also allows students to reflect on the uses of water whether that’s in the present, or past! This simple activity covers so much, and hopefully will help our students realize that humans cannot survive without water. One thing I have experienced growing up in The Philippines is how loggers used our rivers and waterfalls in transporting heavy logs that will be used and turned in to various household materials. The timber will reach so many places that are hard to access because water will get there quite easily. Eventually, these same waterways became the “roads” for floating vessels that will be responsible for industrialization.

  • Ambrette Gilkey - January 12, 2021

    I loved the warm up activity with classifying the images in categories that really made me think, and got me engaged. The follow up history of each of the images is was very interesting. A great way to introduce students to other times, cultures, and images they may not know the story to. Both the activity and presentation made me realize how much I take fire fighting for granted and how water systems have improved to fight fires in cities.
    To understand, even a small amount, of our waters history gives much more appreciation to what we have today. We may have had to quarantine due to Covid-19 in 2020, but households 1891 had to quarantine due to diphtheria, without much hope of surviving. This also helps to bring awareness and show empathy towards others in the world who do not have readily available water, and at that clean water.

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