1 hr 15 mins
F3FN9P Women with their stainless steel water containers to protest against the acute water shortage Bombay Mumbai India - asb 144497

Students share their prior knowledge of droughts and build on their understanding by watching two short videos. They read about Cape Town's “Day Zero” to understand how drought is impacting water security in a particular city. Students read an article about the effects of climate change on water access to deepen their understanding of how climate change impacts water security.

DIRECTIONS


This activity is part of the Peak Water: Mount Everest and Global Water Supply unit.

1. Elicit students’ prior knowledge about droughts and build on their understanding.
  • Ask students to think about what they know about droughts and share their ideas with a partner, then have a few volunteers share out with the class. Tell students that in this activity they will be investigating droughts, one threat to water security for people around the world.
  • Watch and discuss the Climate Change and California’s Drought video. Lead a debrief discussion by asking:
      • What did you notice about the reservoir? (Students' responses may include: Folsom Lake’s water levels were low. The floating docks were sitting on dry land.)
      • What do you think caused the water to be so low? (Students' responses may include: Climate change; the drought has gone on for four years; there is low snowpack.)
  • Watch the Droughts 101 video. Lead a debrief discussion by asking:
      1. What causes droughts? (Students' responses may include: Natural and human factors; changing wind patterns causing high pressure weather systems to last for too long; overuse of water supplies)
      2. Why do you think droughts are becoming more severe in some places? (Students' responses may include: increasing human populations are using increasing amounts of water, climate change is shifting weather patterns.)
      3. Based on what you have learned so far or on your own ideas, how could a drought be prevented for communities surrounding Mount Everest? (Students' responses may include: regulating water use, protecting water sources, monitoring glacier size and snowpack, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.)
  • Distribute the Project Journal: Endless Dry Spells and direct students to record their ideas in Section 1.
 
2. Invite students to read about Cape Town’s “Day Zero” to understand how drought is impacting water security in a particular city.
  • Have students read the article Why Cape Town is Running Out of Water and Who’s Next. 
      • Have students journal their responses to the article and the following questions in Section 2 of their Project Journal for this activity:
          1. What do you think is causing Cape Town to run out of water? (Students' responses may include:  population growth and a record drought, possibly changes in climate.)
          2. How do you think the residents feel? (Students' responses will vary and may include: powerless, angry, scared, frustrated.)
          3. How do you think the residents of the Ganges (Ganga)-Brahmaputra River watershed (that you read about in the Living in Mount Everest’s Watershed article during the Watersheds activity of this unit) would feel if they ran out of water? Try to consider a specific person when you journal your responses. (Student's responses will vary.)
 
3. Prompt students to read an article to deepen their understanding of how climate change impacts water security.
  • Have students read the How Climate Change Impacts Water Access article in pairs and discuss the main ideas. Students will complete Section 3 in the Project Journal.
  • Guide students in creating a cause and effect pathway connecting climate change and water access in Section 4 of their Project Journal.
 
4. Revisit the Know & Need to Know chart.
  • Revisit the class Know & Need to Know chart, started in the A Day Without Water activity and revisited throughout the unit, for students to see how their thinking and understanding about water has continued to change.
  • Ask students to discuss with a partner:
      • What do we already know about the importance of Mount Everest’s ice?
      • What do we need to know?
      • What questions can move from the Need to Know to the Know column?
  • Prompt students to share ideas and questions in a whole-class discussion. Record new ideas and revise their questions as needed in the Know & Need to Know chart.

Informal Assessment

Students will contribute to small group and class discussions with their ideas. They will also journal their responses to the reading and video in their Project Journal: Endless Dry Spells and submit them for feedback.

Extending the Learning

Step 1: Read about the lack of snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the article 500-Year Snow Fail in California’s Iconic Mountains to connect to previous lessons about snowpack and connect to the drought in this activity.

Watch this three-minute Extreme Weather: Droughts video about how droughts link to forest fires in California.

Read the full Drought encyclopedic entry.

1 hr 15 mins
TAMWKK Namche Bazar, Nepal. 27th May, 2019. Nepalese Army load garbage collected from the high camps of Mount Everest during the Everest clean up campaign at Namche Bazar in Nepal on Monday, May 27, 2019. Credit: Skanda Gautam/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News

Students research and compile a list of ways they can conserve water to avoid a “Day Zero” in their local watershed, as well as how Mount Everest mountaineers can avoid contributing to water issues for those living in the mountain's watershed. Students review information and images from the Perpetual Planet Expedition to Mount Everest for new ideas and inspiration.

DIRECTIONS


This activity is a part of the Peak Water: Mount Everest and Global Water Supply unit. 

1. Assist students as they research and compile a list of ways they can conserve water to avoid a “Day Zero.”

  • Introduce students to the term conservation. Let students know that in addition to industries and lawmakers making big changes that will impact our climate, they can take individual action to protect our water resources.
  • Have students test their knowledge of ways to conserve water by working with a partner to play the Test Your WaterSense game.
      • Elicit students’ ideas about what they learned about water conservation and what new ideas they have for saving water at school and at home (as well as what farmers, governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations can do). 
  • Distribute the Project Journal: Avoiding “Day Zero.” In teams of 2-4, have students research ways to conserve water using the following resources:


2. Facilitate students’ exploration of Mount Everest Base Camp images to better understand how humans impact the Everest watershed.

  • Have students browse the slideshow and read the captions in the Here’s what it’s like to live at Everest Base Camp article.
  • Share these portions of the article with students:
      • “According to popular Everest blogger Alan Arnette, Nepal's Ministry of Tourism has issued 375 Everest climbing permits for the 2019 spring season; on the North side, there are reportedly 144 foreign climbers. It’s illegal to simply show up at base camp with a climbing permit, pitch a tent, and try to climb the mountain. All foreigners must climb the mountain through a locally licensed logistics company, which supply base camp accommodations, meals, and basic bathroom facilities. For every one foreign climber, there are three to four local workers living in base camp as well—either climbing Sherpa working on the mountain itself or base camp staff—the cooks, dishwashers, servers, and team managers who all look after the guided clients.”
  • Share with students that about 500 hikers a day use the Everest Base Camp trail during the busy season.
  • Ask: What impact do you think the thousands of Everest Base Camp trekkers, over 500 foreign climbers, and 1,500 or so local workershave on Mount Everest? (Student responses may vary, but could include impacts due to water usage for meals and waste or wastewater produced by toileting.)
  • Have students add to Section 2 of the Project Journal.


3. Have students read with a partner the “Bad News for the Himalayas” section of the Inside the Everest expedition that built the world’s highest weather station article.

  • Debrief by asking students:
      • Based on the article, how will the new weather stations on Mount Everest help scientists understand water security for the Ganges (Ganga)-Brahmaputra River watershed? (Students may answer: Climate scientists can better understand the subtropical jet stream and collect long-term data on this influence on growing seasons and storm tracks. The weather stations will help scientists understand how snow accumulation and ice/snowmelt respond to climate variability and change.)
      • Other than physical waste, what is the largest threat to Mount Everest’s watershed’s water security? (Human waste or reduced water held in glacier/snowpack due to climate change)
  • Let students know that in the next section, they will be researching and brainstorming ways to solve water security problems for the Ganges-Brahmaputra River watershed.


4. Support students as they research ways Everest mountaineers can help minimize human impact on the quality of water supply for those living in this region.

 
5. Prompt students to revise the Know & Need to Know chart for the last time.

  • Revisit the class Know & Need to Know chart, initially completed in the A Day Without Water activity, for students to see how their thinking and understanding about water has changed throughout the unit.
  • Ask students to discuss with a partner:
      1. What do we already know about the importance of Everest’s ice?
      2. Is there anything else you need to know?
      3. What questions can move from the Need to Know to the Know column?
  • Prompt students to share ideas and questions in a whole-class discussion. Record new ideas and revise their questions as needed in the Know & Need to Know chart.

Informal Assessment

Students will compile a list of ways they can conserve water to avoid a “Day Zero” and ways Everest mountaineers and Base Camp trekkers can help minimize human impact on the quality of water supply for those living in this region. They will record this list in the Project Journal: Avoiding Day Zero. The journal should be collected and reviewed at the end of this activity.

Extending the Learning

Step 1: Have students read the Conserving the Earth article.

After the activity: Encourage students to share the EPA WaterSense Pledge with their families.

2 hrs 30 mins
World map made by plastic caps; Shutterstock ID 191865257; Project details: National Geographic Education Resource Library ; Job: National Geographic Education Resource Library; Client/Licensee: National Geographic Society; Other: Everest Sci Unit

As the culmination of the Peak Water: Mount Everest and Global Water Supply unit, students draw from their ideas and reflections in their Project Journals to create and present the unit final product: collaborate on a public education outreach campaign proposal to inform their community about human impacts on water security. 

DIRECTIONS


This activity is part of the Peak Water: Mount Everest and Global Water Supply unit.

1. Assist students as they refer to the Project Journals they completed throughout the Peak Water: Mount Everest and Global Water Supply unit and the scientific argument they previously drafted in the How We Impact the Water Supply activity to create their public education outreach campaign proposal.
  • Remind students of the required components of their outreach campaign using the checklist from the Human Impact on Water Security Campaign: Project Rubric:
      • Objectives: The long-term outcomes and short-term outcomes you wish to achieve.
      • Target audience: the relevant individuals or groups you want to target with your message.
      • Message: the main message you want to share to raise awareness and inspire action.
      • Methods: a description of how you will raise awareness.
      • Features the Himalaya or a local watershed.
      • Represents a cause and effect relationship between humans and water security.
  • Revisit the Human Impact on Water Security Campaign: Project Rubric to ensure students understand how their final products will be assessed.
  • Allow students at least 60 minutes in class to work on their public outreach campaigns using the available materials.
 
2. Facilitate as students present their public outreach campaign plans and scientific arguments to an audience of peers, experts, and community members.
  • Decide in advance if you will have students share their projects one at a time or if you will have a Gallery Walk style presentation.
      • Have students brainstorm two to three focus questions to elicit feedback from their classmates/audience and record these in a visible place.
  • Distribute the Modeling Human Impact on Water Security Project Rubric and the focus questions that students brainstormed; students and other audience members will use them to evaluate the campaign plans and the students’ accompanying scientific argumentation.
 
3. Prompt students to engage in a reflection on the project.
  • Lead students in a discussion in which they reflect on the project. Physically move students’ chairs in a circle. Use the following prompts as guides for the discussion:
      1. What are some key ideas that you’ll probably always remember from the project?
      2. What part was the most challenging?
      3. What part did you enjoy most?
      4. If you could do something different, what would it be?
      5. If you could change one thing about this project, what would it be?
      6. What is one thing you’ll do differently related to water to ensure water security?
 
4. Assess students’ understanding of the A Ripple Effect lesson of the Peak Water: Mount Everest and Global Water Supply unit through an exit ticket.
  • Use the prompt below to assess students’ understanding of the main concepts covered in the A Ripple Effect lesson. Have students respond individually to this prompt on an exit ticket:
      • Using evidence from this lesson’s activities, explain: 
          1. How droughts occur
          2. How climate change and human activities can make droughts worse and make them last longer. 

Rubric

Use the Modeling Human Impact on Water Security Project Rubric to assess students’ understanding of the key concepts of the unit via their campaign plans and scientific arguments. Additionally, the audience feedback, student responses to the final reflection questions, and/or the peer evaluations can all be used to inform your final assessment of each student’s individual understanding and contribution to the project. Use the exit ticket in Step 4 to assess students’ understanding of the A Ripple Effect lesson.

Extending the Learning

Share students’ work in a public location, such as a library, watershed center, science museum, or other relevant location.

Subjects & Disciplines

Objectives

Students will:

  • Explain what a drought is and what kinds of factors cause droughts.
  • Develop a cause and effect pathway between climate change and water security for people around the world.
  • Explore and evaluate solutions for conserving water.
  • Review the human impact on Mount Everest’s watershed using a hyper-local lens.
  • Produce a public education outreach campaign with a detailed and annotated sketch of their proposal.
  • Share their proposal and scientific argument with an audience.
  • Provide feedback on other students’ projects.
  • Reflect on the project.
  • Share their artistic model and argumentation with an audience.
  • Review the human impact on Mount Everest’s watershed.

Teaching Approach

  • Project-based learning

Teaching Methods

  • Brainstorming
  • Discussions
  • Hands-on learning
  • Information organization
  • Multimedia instruction
  • Reading
  • Research
  • Self-directed learning

Skills Summary

This lesson targets the following skills:

Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3: Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. SL.6.3 / SL.7.3 / SL.8.3 CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.4: Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.5: Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.6: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 7 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.9: Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. Next Generation Science Standards Crosscutting Concept 2: Cause and Effect  MS. Earth and Human Activity: MS-ESS3-5. Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century. MS-ESS3-4: Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human and natural resources impact Earth's systems. Science and Engineering Practice 1: Asking questions and defining problems Science and Engineering Practice 8: Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

What You’ll Need

Required Technology

  • Internet Access: Required
  • Internet access: Required
  • Tech Setup: 1 computer per pair, Monitor/screen, Projector, Speakers

Physical Space

  • Classroom

Setup

Prior to the activity:

  • Identify and invite guests to engage with students’ campaign plans and arguments.
  • Let students know what materials are available for them to use for their visual components of their projects.

You may decide to showcase students’ work in a place other than the classroom, such as the gymnasium, media center, library, performance space, theater, or auditorium.


 

Grouping

  • Heterogeneous grouping
  • Large-group instruction
  • Large-group learning
  • Small-group learning
  • Small-group work

Accessibility Notes

  • None

Background Information

Droughts are a complex phenomenon to understand. Fortunately, the goal of this lesson is not to fully explain droughts themselves, but to provide students with a baseline understanding of what causes them (demand outweighs the supply, and changing weather systems), and for students to make the connection between climate change and water security.

The two highest operating weather stations in the world were installed during the National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Extreme Expedition to Mount Everest in 2019. The connection between the weather stations on Mount Everest and water security is best articulated in the Inside the Everest expedition that built the world’s highest weather station article:

“The reason any of this was worth the effort, risk, and cost is because only Mount Everest and a few of its Himalayan cousins are tall enough to reliably pierce the Sub-tropical Jet Stream—one of the narrow bands of powerful winds that circle the globe at high altitudes, influencing everything from storm tracks to agriculture growing seasons. For climate scientists, there are few more pressing phenomena to understand than the jet stream, and the weather station would provide scientists an important new tool with which to gather data about it.”

Because jet streams affect temperature and precipitation, they impact the water available in a watershed.

Prior Knowledge

  • Students should know what freshwater is, how people use water, and where most fresh water comes from. They should have a sense of how the National Geographic and Rolex's Perpetual Planet Extreme Expedition to Mount Everest connects to water security.
  • Students should have a basic understanding of their project work for the unit and how Mount Everest connects to water conservation issues.

Recommended Prior Lessons

Vocabulary

Noun

all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.

Noun

gradual changes in all the interconnected weather elements on our planet.

Noun

management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.

Noun

period of greatly reduced precipitation.

Himalaya Mountains
Noun

mountain range between India and Nepal.

Mount Everest
Noun

highest spot on Earth, approximately 8,850 meters (29,035 feet). Mount Everest is part of the Himalaya and straddles the border of Nepal and China.

Noun

natural or man-made lake.

Sherpa
Noun

people and culture native to the Himalayan region of Nepal and China. Sherpa often serve as mountaineer guides and porters on mountain-climbing expeditions.

upcycle
Verb

to recycle one or more items to create an object that is worth more than the original product.

water conservation
Noun

process of lowering the amount of water used by homes and businesses.

weather system
Noun

movement of warm or cold air.

For Further Exploration

Websites