Lesson 8: Water Bottles Everywhere

Grade 5-8 (Science and Social studies)
Grade 9-12 (Science and Social studies)

Topic: How water bottle use is polluting the waters

Time: 60 minutes

Space Requirement: Regular classroom

Methodology: Learning centres, jigsaw, cooperative learning

Materials: Handouts for each centre

Objectives: Students will use the numbers gathered by observation to demonstrate the proliferation of plastic water bottles in society. Students will learn the true cost of bottled water in terms of oil, waste, and pollution.


  1. Prior to the class beginning, set up the following five learning centres and have the materials needed at each centre (see Resources):
    a. Bottles
    b. Water
    c. Transportation
    d. Bottled vs. Tap
    e. Alternatives
  2. When the class begins briefly describe the activity and break the class into five groups. (2 min)
  3. Each group must designate someone to read the information out loud for the group. The group must develop a presentation on their topic. The presentation is to be no more than 5 minutes long. (25 min)
  4. Each group presents the information and answers any questions the class has. (25 min)
  5. Using the water bottle numbers the students collected, calculate the approximate total amount of water consumed and the cost of the water (see Resources for the sample calculation) and discuss further any alternatives for drinking bottled water. (10 min)

Evaluation: The presentations can serve as an evaluation of the level of understanding regarding the material. Also a small writing assignment is attached to the calculations of cost activity and this assignment should be used as a review evaluation for the next lesson.

For the Teacher: There is a lot of debate concerning bottled water. The goal for this lesson is for students to become aware of the cost of drinking bottled water (environmental and financial cost) so that they can make educated decisions with regards to bottled water. The Bottled Water Jigsaw pages are designed for grade 5 to 7. For grades 8 to 10 use the Water Bottle fact sheet (available through the Related Links sections below).

Related Links:
Bottled Water
Emerging Contaminants

Resources: There are handouts for each of the centres. The handouts contain all the necessary information to make the students the experts. The handouts are available through the following link: Bottled Water Jigsaw Information. Cost of water activity can be found through the Cost of Bottled Water link. Water Calculations are also available.

Extension Activity: The Safe Drinking Water Foundation has other educational programs that can be taught with this set of lessons. Operation Water Drop looks at what chemical contaminants there are in water and is designed for a science class. Operation Water Flow looks at how water is used and where it comes from and is designed for a Social studies and Math collaboration. Operation Water Spirit presents a First Nations perspective of water and water issues and is designed for a Native Studies class. Operation Water Health looks at common health issues surrounding drinking water in Canada and around the world and is designed for a Health, Science and Social Studies collaboration. To access more information on these and other educational activities visit the Safe Drinking Water Foundation website at www.safewater.org.