How can we support those without access to drinking water?

Questions to hold on to​

  • Do all humans have access to clean water?
  • Why does this matter?

Add to your thinking

The Digital Notebook is a space to hold your thoughts, questions, and growing understanding throughout this Unit.  You will be able to access it from every Module. Use The Digital Notebook to jot your thinking, take notes, or as a space to develop your writing. You can print and export it anytime, and at the end of lesson 8 you’ll be reminded to save a copy for yourself.

Why Water?

Globally, 1 in 9 people still have no access to clean water. But in the communities we serve, it’s 9 out of 9. Water is a daily and crippling challenge. Without water you can’t grow food, you can’t build housing, you can’t stay healthy, you can’t stay in school and you can’t keep working. Read More

Types of Drinking Water Contaminants

The Safe Drinking Water Act defines the term “contaminant” as meaning any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter in water. Therefore, the law defines “contaminant” very broadly as being anything other than water molecules. Read More

Living on One Dollar follows the journey of four friends as they set out to live on just $1 a day for two months in rural Guatemala.

All Lesson Videos


Living On One Dollar



*this module will take approximately 3.5 hours



The purpose of Module 1 is for students to develop empathy and surface knowledge about the inequities of the world’s water through a scientific lens. 


Engage (30 min)

To Drink or Not To Drink… That is the Question

  • Place 5-7 bottles of water located on a table. The students will be told there are 2 drinkable water bottles, and 5 contaminated ones. The students will identify which five bottles they think are the contaminated water bottles and cast their votes. 
    • Set up: Each student will be given two pieces of paper to “vote”. Behind each water bottle, there will be a jar/box they can cast their votes in. 
    • Bottles could be filled with: Activated charcoal, bleach water, ocean water (saltwater), organic matter, puddle water, vinegar water, ‘dirt’ water, muddy water, clear water that could be contaminated with bacteria, pesticides, etc
    •  After all the students vote, the ‘big reveal’ will be that the “dirty” looking water was actually the drinkable water and the clear water has micro contaminants in it which could make you very sick. 
      • The water that looks dirty but is clean to drink will have the activated charcoal and organic matter 
    • Teacher notes: Make sure you check in with your principal to ensure you are disposing of the materials appropriately and efficiently. 
  • Discuss the dangers of not testing the water before drinking it, and the challenges of lower socioeconomic countries or communities that do not have access to water testers.  Consider what could happen if they drank the contaminated water. 


Explore (60 min)

Develop Empathy 


Elaborate (60 min) 

Micro Contaminants 

  • Review U.S. EPA website about the four different types of micro contaminants 
    • Divide students into 8 groups of 4 people (Physical, Chemical, Biological, Radiological)  
    • Two groups will be assigned to one of the micro contaminants they will be responsible for creating a visual poster board diving deep into their topic. 
    • Each group will have one or two computers to research and dive deeply into their assigned topic. 
    • On the poster board, the students should have the name of the micro contaminants (Physical, Chemical, Biological, Radiological) , how the micro contaminate contaminates water, where you can find the micro contaminant, can you treat the micro contaminant, any other relevant information. 
      • The board should look neat and orderly but not a finalized product. 
      • Students should incorporate pictures, drawings, bullet points, vocabulary into their posters
    • Students will be given 5-7 minutes to present their poster board to the class. 


Explain (40 min)

Introduce essential questions

  • Gather the class into a circle sitting on the floor, everyone should be able to physically see each other 
    • Set up guidelines and rules of being in a circle
      • One person speaks at a time 
      • Have a physical ‘talking piece’  (teddy bear, class mascot, flower, etc)
      • Everyone must speak at least one time in the circle
    • Start the circle off by asking one of the essential questions to the group: 
      • Who has access to clean drinking water?
      • How can we support those without access to drinking water by designing a solution?
    • Choose one student to start, hand them the talking piece, after they answer, have them pass the talking piece to their neighbor.  


Evaluate (20 min)

World of 100 Simulation

  • Option 1: (if you have a full class period)
  • Option 2: introduce the World of 100 statistics and reflect as a class about what they mean. Do the numbers overlap? – click here

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