PYP How, Where, Who, Share! Teacher Guide

1. Sharing the Planet

Water, Water Everywhere... But How Much Can We Drink?

Water is shared by all living things and is a finite resource.

  • CAUSATION: importance of the water cycle to life on Earth; why the different states of matter are important to the water cycle.
  • FUNCTION: how the water cycle works.
  • RESPONSIBILITY: responsibility to protect and conserve water.
  • PERSPECTIVE: people’s access to water.
  • THINKING: making predictions and interpreting findings from science experiment.
  • COMMUNICATION: presenting findings to the class.
  • RESEARCH: finding how charities help bring clean water to communities.


Below are two examples of how you can introduce this chapter to the children. Both examples lead to discussions focusing on different parts of the chapter.

Example 1: Relay races

Children choose a container they would like to use and then are split into groups. Each group sits in a line. Give each group the same amount of water to start. The children need to pour the water between each container until they get to the last one. Measure the water at the end to see who spilt the least. This could lead to group discussion about what strategy worked the best and why, what containers worked well, and if it is always best to go quicker. This can be linked to water being an important resource that we can’t take for granted and how your access to clean, safe water is very dependent on where you live in the world.

Example 2: Water course

Another option is to help children create their own water course using recycled materials. Give each group the same amount of water and establish rules beforehand, such as if they can physically hold the water course or if it needs to stand independently. Afterwards, you could ask them how much water they started with. And how much they lost? This can then be linked to how water travels in our taps.

States of Matter (p. 6)

Recap the different states of matter with children. To remind them about the three states of water you could have some ice, some water and a kettle of boiling water. Show children how the ice melts as it heats, turning to water. Hold a mirror up to the kettle to show children how steam condenses. This could be a good point to introduce children to how clouds are formed.

Question 1 (p. 8)

Talk through the water cycle on page 7, making sure children understand the words precipitation, evaporation and condensation.

It can be useful to show a video at this stage and there are many available on the internet. This example shows the water cycle in its simplest form only using the three key words. 

Encourage children to be creative in how they represent the water cycle for this question. They could do their own video, build a model or create a dance.

Questions 2–5 (p. 9–11): Evaporation science experiment

This could be completed as a class demonstration or in small groups. Due to the length of the experiment, it is best set up at the start of the day to allow enough time for children to observe the water evaporating/condensing and record their observations.

It is easier if this is completed on a warm day to encourage evaporation of the water. Or the bowl could be placed near a heat source.


Encourage children to write predictions using scientific vocabulary and explaining why they think that will happen.

After the experiment

Discuss what the children observed.

  • How did they record their findings?
  • How could they change this experiment to be able to collect data? (They could measure the amount of water collected at regular intervals.)

Alternative/Additional Science Experiment

Evaporating sponge

This experiment would be a good follow on from the evaporation experiment or can be used as an alternative if you would like to focus on children collecting and recording quantitative results.

It is best to set up this experiment at the start of the day to give the water enough time to evaporate from the sponge.


  1. Place a dry sponge on a plate and weigh it. Make a note of the mass.
  2. Using a pipette, slowly add a set amount of water to the sponge. (The amount of water the sponge will hold depends on the size of sponge you are using. Therefore, before the lesson check how much water the sponge can hold so you can give your children the same set amount of water to add to their sponge.)
  3. Once all the water has been added to the sponge, weigh it using the scales. Record the mass in the first row of a results table with the following column headers: Time | Mass of sponge and plate (g) | Amount of water evaporated (g).
  4. Decide on a class interval of time before you will measure the sponge again. This will be dependent on the heat source you are using.
  5. Record the mass at each interval and compare results at the end.
  6. At this point, you could collate all the group results and find the class mean average of water evaporated at different times. This can lead to plotting your results on a line graph and a discussion on trends. Depending on your results, this could be a great opportunity to discuss anomalous results.

Questions 6–7 (p. 13): The important of clean water

Before answering the questions, discuss with children the importance of clean water and how many people take it for granted. Let the children ask questions and steer the dialogue, as this can lead to some great discussions on the topic.

This short video shows a real-life example of people dealing with a lack of water:

Questions 8 (p. 14): How charities bring clean water

During the Research task, you could encourage children to think about what life was like before in these communities. Compare it to what life is like after they have been given help. As a class, you could list all the things we use water for to help understand how important it is (e.g. toilets, drinking water, water for pets or animals, cleaning, boiling (first aid), showers, washing hands, watering plants and farms, car washer fluid, painting, to make ice, etc.).

You can also discuss why it is a global challenge to protect, conserve and keep our water supply clean.

To get the children started, you could show the children an example of a charity that helps people to get clean water, such as:

Reflection (p. 15)

Allow children time to complete the reflection at the end of the chapter. This is a great opportunity to discuss with the children what they have learnt now and what their favourite part of the chapter was. Remind them to look back at the questions they asked at the start. Can they answer them now?

Give children lesson time to answer any questions they haven’t covered in the chapter. If all of their questions have been answered, children could delve deeper into a particular part of the chapter they found interesting