Student Activities

Daily Water Use

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
State Standards:


Water plays a vital role here at Wind Cave.  Not only is it essential to the plants and animals on the surface, but it is also a key component in the formation of the cave.  If you travel down to the deepest part of Wind Cave you enter the area of the cave known as the lakes.  This is where Wind Cave intersects the water table.  You can go and look at the Madison Aquifer. Many people of the area get their water from this aquifer, making conservation a important goal for these same people.

Materials: A gallon jug and copies of attached Personal Water Use sheet.


Day One:

  1. Ask the students to name all of the ways they use water in a typical day. List them. Show the students a gallon jug of water and ask them to estimate how many gallons they use in a day.
  2. Hand out the attached chart (the blank Personal Water Use Survey). Tell them that over the next 24 hours they are to keep track of the ways they use water by noting them on the chart. Example, one student might flush the toilet 5 times, wash his hands 8 times, brush her teeth 2 times, etc. Estimate the minutes if necessary.

 Day Two:

1. Have the students estimate the gallons they used in the 24 hour period.

2. Lead a discussion about the class’s findings.

  • Show the gallon jug and ask how much water did you estimate you personally used in the 24 hour period (calculate using the handout)?
  •  People in the US, on average, use 100-150 gallons of water per person per day. How does your use compare with this average?
  • Imagine not having plumbing in your house, that you had to carry water from a well. Would this change the amount of water you used? How would your water use be different?  
  • For more water facts on how carrying water affects how much you use go to
  • Brainstorm simple, routine steps one could take to reduce the amount of water used in a day.
  1. Bring up the Water Conserving Methods (on the handout) and talk about the methods listed. How hard would it be to actually follow these methods?
  2. Have students log their water use for another 24 hours, this time trying out as many water-saving methods as they can.

    Day Three:

    Ask students to calculate their water usage and compare the two days. Lead a discussion about the results:
  • How much did your water consumption change from the first 24-hour period?
  • What were the biggest reasons for the change?
  • For which tasks was it easier to save water?
  • For which tasks was it harder?
  • If you were only allowed 25 gallons of water per day, how would you use your 25 gallons? How would you cut back?
  • Choose three different water saving methods that you could use routinely. How much water would you save in a month if you were to use these three methods every day?



This website has a calculator and many in-depth tips to save water.


Download Water Use Survey for Students

Last updated: September 20, 2016