# Learning Lesson: Water, Water Everywhere

## Overview

Water is the most abundant and important substance on Earth. It is essential to life and is a major component of all living things. There are approximately 336,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of water on the earth, existing in three states; solid, liquid and gas.

The sources for this water storage are the oceans, icecaps & glaciers, ground water, fresh-water lakes, inland seas, soil moisture, atmosphere, and rivers. The students will discover the different water ratios in the earth's total water supply.

TOTAL TIME 20 minutes Eight (8) 1000 ml beakers, Plastic cup, Eyedropper None None Flash Flood Safety

## Procedure

1. Label beaker #1 "oceans" and fill it with 1000 ml of water.
2. Label the following beakers: beaker #2 "glaciers & icecaps", beaker #3 "groundwater", beaker #4 "fresh-water lakes", beaker #5 "inland seas", beaker #6 "soil moisture", beaker #7 "atmosphere", and beaker #8 "rivers".
3. Inform the students to assume the earth's total water supply has been reduced to 1000 ml as indicated in beaker #1.
4. Ask the students how much water must be transferred from beaker #1 into each of the remaining beakers representing the portion of water in each section. Write their estimates on the chalk board.
5. Transfer the following amounts of water FROM beaker #1 to each of the remaining beakers.
1. Glaciers & icecaps - 21.4 ml
2. Groundwater - 6.1 ml
3. Fresh-water lakes - 0.09 ml (∼2 drops)
4. Inland seas - 0.08 ml (1½ drops)
5. Soil moisture - 0.05 ml (one drop)
6. Atmosphere - 0.01 ml (0.2 drop)
7. Rivers - 0.001 ml (0.02 drop)

Obviously, the last two, atmosphere and river, will be nearly impossible to obtain. So, by adding no drops will help in the students understanding of how little water is in those two locations.

## Discussion

The students will be surprised how little water is found in each of the remaining beakers. The vast majority of water is found in the oceans; approximately 97.2%. The following are the percentages for each water source:

Where is Earth's water located?
(Percents are rounded, so will not add to 100)
Water Source Water volume
(cubic miles)
Total Water
(%)
Oceans 317,000,000 97.24
Glaciers & icecaps 7,000,000 2.14
Groundwater 2,000,000 0.61
Fresh-water lakes 30,000 0.009
Inland seas 25,000 0.008
Soil moisture 16,000 0.005
Atmosphere 3,100 0.001
Rivers 300 0.0001
Total water volume 326,000,000 100.0000

Despite the overabundance of rain we often receive, the atmosphere contains very little of the earth's total water supply. This demonstration can lead into water conservation awareness and teaching students to think about ways of saving our drinking water. For more info visit EPA Water Sense