The Fresh Water Availability module, “Will there be enough fresh water?” consists of six activities to be implemented over approximately six 45-minute class periods. In this module you will consider the question: will there be enough fresh water? Students will explore the distribution and uses of fresh water on Earth. Explore models of porosity and permeability, run experiments with interactive computational models, and hear from a hydrologist working on the same question. By the end of the module, students will be able to explain how humans can preserve supplies of fresh water for the future.

Below describes an overview of the sequence of activities:


Activity 1: Constructing an Argument: Water

Students will learn how to create a good scientific argument in the context of freshwater availability. They will learn to develop scientific arguments through a series of questions that ask them to make a claim, explain their answer, rate their certainty with their answer, and explain that rating.

Activity 2: Availability of Fresh Water

Students explore how water moves above and below Earth's surface by using interactive computational models. Then they examine the supply and demand issues around their local water source(s), and they meet a hydrogeologist who introduces students to some of the issues around the sustainability of fresh water sources around the world. 

Activity 3: Using Fresh Water

Students explore maps to discover the distribution of fresh water resources on Earth, and they examine graphs to discover how fresh water supplies are used by humans. 

Activity 4: Groundwater Movement

Students explore how porosity and permeability of different sediments affect the way water flows through Earth's layers. Students use interactive computational models to explore the underground flow and deposition of water and determine the best places to access the water in a sustainable manner. 

Activity 5: Groundwater and Surface Water

Students use interactive computational models to explore the underground flow of water and how it affects surface bodies of water. They predict how the water table will be affected by the placement of wells around a gaining stream. Finally, they explore the reasons the river dried up in a case study of the Santa Cruz River in Arizona. 

Activity 6: Using Groundwater Wisely

Students use interactive computational models to explore the relationship between infiltration and recharge in natural and urbanized areas. They investigate how human development has changed the natural flow of water. Students explore the transfer of water from one aquifer to another and propose solutions to allow for water extracted from wells to recharge the aquifers from which they came.


Accessing the Module

1.  Go to for the interactive Teacher Edition of the Fresh Water Availability module and other teacher resources. You will need to have a teacher account to access the teacher materials. Registration is free. 

2.  Set up a class on the Concord Consortium Learn portal ( Assign the Fresh Water Availability module.

3.  Have your students register for student accounts on the Learn portal. Students will join your class with the “class word” you selected.

Use the embedded teaching tips and discussion tips in the Teacher Edition to help facilitate your students’ investigations in the Fresh Water Availability module


Informal Assessment 

The Fresh Water Availability module includes pre and post-assessments. Use these to assess your students’ understanding of fresh water movement. In addition, you can use the real-time Class Dashboard to track students’ progress through the module and give students feedback on their responses.

Use the embedded argumentation items to assess your students’ understanding of water movement. Rubrics are available to registered teachers at


  Funded by the National Science Foundation

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-0929774 and DRL-1220756. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.