Teaching Resources

Freshwater

Teach about the availability, use, and conservation of freshwater

Brightly colored rocks seen through the crystal clear waters of Kintla Lake in Glacier National Park - USA.

Brightly colored rocks seen through the crystal clear waters of Kintla Lake in Glacier National Park - USA.

Jason Patrick Ros / Shutterstock

Freshwater is vital for life, supporting ecosystems and human civilizations. We use freshwater in many aspects of daily life including food production, power generation, manufacturing, and sanitation. However, it is becoming increasingly threatened. Although the Earth’s surface is two-thirds water, less than three percent is fresh. Pollution in the world’s rivers, streams, and lakes renders water undrinkable and harms local wildlife. Overuse, triggered in part by population growth, causes water shortages and dries up lakes, rivers, or streams before they reach the sea or downstream neighbors, sometimes causing conflict.

Access to freshwater will be a defining issue for future generations. Students need to understand how individuals, organizations, and nations are taking action and how they can get involved. Below are free, standards-based education resources developed for educators to engage students in science, social studies, and geography concepts related to freshwater. These materials contain strategies and approaches to teaching about water in the classroom.

 

Activities and Lessons

Use these activities and lessons to highlight the importance of the world’s freshwater

Okavango Wilderness Project

The Okavango Wilderness Project is working to safeguard a watershed crucial to one of the planet’s last wetland wildernesses. 

None

On the National Geographic Channel

National Geographic and Jigsaw Productions present Parched, a three-part series narrated by Academy Award winning filmmaker Alex Gibney that investigates water wars from West Virginia and Michigan to Syria and India. From the producers of the feature documentary Water & Power, a California Heist, this companion series explores the corporate, political and social interests that are responsible for our water limited future.

National Geographic Explorers

Introduce students to explorers passionate about freshwater issues

Sandra Postel

Sandra Postel  

Freshwater Conservationist

Osvel Hinojosa Huerta

Osvel Hinojosa Huerta  

Conservationist

Jennifer Burney

Jennifer Burney  

Environmental Scientist

Ashley Murray

Ashley Murray  

Wastewater Engineer

Shannon Switzer

Shannon Switzer  

Photojournalist / Water Conservationist

Encyclopedic Entries

Encourage students to learn more about freshwater with these references

Videos

Use video to illustrate drought, river anatomy, and a unique water purification method

Freshwater Photo Gallery

Explore these images depicting freshwater issues in the world today