Down the Drain Challenge




  1. Discussion with Students 
    • ask the students how they would describe their relationship with water? 
    • Do they know where their water comes from? Before it comes out of your sink, where has that water traveled from? 
    • As a class, research where your water comes from. Can you identify your local reservoir that provides your city with fresh drinking water? 

    2. Drain Diary:

      For just one day, have all the students keep track of everything that goes down the sink or shower drain. That includes water, shampoo, food etc. They should estimate how much of each product they are sending down. 

      Students may share their results in a blog or as part of a discussion forum on their Ocean Literacy Course

      3. Debrief

      • What types of things went down your sink?
      • Estimate the volume of liquids that went down the drain? Did you include a way to measure how much liquid went down?
      • What are the impacts of grey water that goes down the drain? How much clean drinkable water goes down the drain each day?
        • You can also try the water filtration activity (PDF included in this lesson), or explore more with water sanitation resources to introduce the idea of gray water 
        • What is one thing that you can change to reduce water waste?
        • Does our water usage matter? Why or why not? 
        • How might this water affect those who share our home? What about our neighbors or city? What about someone else on the other side of the world?
        • Is understanding important, and how can we understand more?
        • How can understanding lead to action? 

        Learning Objectives

        Change student's perspectives about their relationship with water

        Introduce the idea that all water on earth is connected, and that water if a valuable resource to everyone

        Introduce the Ocean Literacy Course

        The ocean influences all areas of our daily life, including our food, oxygen, homes, travel, economy, and passions. Through the Ocean Literacy course, you will be exploring all different sides of the ocean,  its influence on our place, and how we have a powerful influence over the ocean. 

        This activity may be used to support the following learning objectives and competencies 

        GRADE: Intermediate and Secondary 

        BIG IDEAS

        • Water is essential to all living things, and it cycles through the environment


        Questioning and Predicting

        • Observe objects and events in familiar context
        • Make observations aimed at identifying their own questions about the natural world 
        • Make predictions about the findings of their inquiry 

        Planning and Conducting

        • Make exploratory observations using their senses 
        • Make and record observations 

        Processing and Analyzing data and information

        • experience and interpret the local environment 
        • discuss observations
        • represent observations and ideas by drawing pictographs
        • identify patterns and connections in data
        • Demonstrate an openness to new ideas and consideration of alternatives


        • compare observations with those of others
        • consider some environmental consequences of their actions
        • Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of evidence
        • Identify some of the social, ethical and environmental implications of the finding from their own and others' investigations 

        Applying and Innovating

        • Take part in caring for self, family, classroom, and school through personal approaches
        • Transfer and apply learning to new situations


        • Share observation and ideas orally, written language or drawing
        • Express and reflect on personal, shared or others' experience of place

          Continue to Ocean Mind Map »