Students need to learn about water distribution on our Earth. “*Water, Water, Everywhere…*” You’ve heard the phrase, and for water, it really is true. Earth’s water is (almost) everywhere: above the Earth in the air and clouds and on the surface of the Earth in rivers, oceans, ice, plants, and in living organisms. But did you know that water is also inside the Earth?
The ocean holds about 97 percent of the Earth’s water; the remaining three percent is distributed in many different places, including glaciers and ice, below the ground, in rivers and lakes, and in the atmosphere.

According to the US Geological Survey, there are over 332,519,000 cubic miles of water on the planet. A cubic mile is the volume of a cube measuring one mile on each side. Of this vast volume of water, NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center estimates that 321,003,271 cubic miles is in the ocean.

This resource is aligned with NGSS 5-ESS2-2. Describe and graph the amounts of saltwater and freshwater in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth. and Utah SEEd standard 5.1.2

Use mathematics and computational thinking to compare the quantity of saltwater and freshwater in various reservoirs to provide evidence for the distribution of water on Earth. Emphasize water on Earth in oceans, lakes, rivers, glaciers, groundwater, and polar ice caps.

I like to give students a clear visual for this and help them see how much slat water there is compared to how much freshwater.

We first do some QR code research to determine the percentages.

Then using a little math integration we compare the entire amount of water on Earth to a liter of water.

Each group should have 1 liter of water. This represents all the water on Earth. I ask them how many ml are in a liter. (1000ml in a liter)

This lesson will have a nice math/metric integration so I will constantly have them using metric and making calculations. If you have a graduated cylinder that is big enough it might help to start with the liter in there so that students can see the measurements.

We complete some follow-up pages and interactive notebook flaps.

And I also have students graph their results. Here is a fun way to make a circle graph.

Next, I would have students do a CLOSE reading activity with some nonfiction text articles to gather more information about water distribution on Earth.

Students would follow up on these pages with more response pages and interactive notebook flaps.

This entire unit is available in my store. It has two hands-on inquiry-based labs, five pages of nonfiction text, response pages, QR Codes, Interactive Notebook Flaps, and more.

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