Water Availability


Water Availability

Pupils use proportional reasoning and data handling to determine how to compare water resources and determine what country is most in need.


Pupils take the role of employees of the World Water Resources Board (WWRB), a fictional international organisation which provides financial aid to countries most in need of water. Pupils examine ways to compare the availability of water fairly between Algeria, Jordan and Turkey to determine which country is most in need. They review documents that describe the importance of water in the region. Working in groups, pupils focus on one country, assembling the relevant data and using it to argue for resources for that country. Numerical data and video content are provided.

Pupils come to recognise that a key aspect of data handling is to determine which data is appropriate to use to answer a particular question. Pupils realise that compound measures are important to enable fair comparisons between countries of different sizes; they create compound measures, such as per capita measures of water availability, which link to questions of proportionality.

Mathematical content

Analyse a complex set of data. Devise and use compound measures (eg per capita) to determine a 'fair' distribution of resources.

Specific Key Stage 3 national curriculum areas covered include:

  • Key processes - choose between representations of water shortage and select appropriate variables, methods and tools to use, analyse using mathematical procedures, interpret and analyse the results and reflect on and communicate them.
  • Number and algebra - calculate with, and manipulate rational numbers; use and apply ratio and proportional reasoning; accuracy and rounding.
  • Geometry and measures - scale; units, compound measures and conversions; areas.
  • Statistics - apply the handling data cycle.
  • Curriculum opportunities - work on problems that arise in other subjects; work collaboratively as well as independently in a range of contexts.

Organisation and pedagogy

The Case Study supports four to five one hour lessons of classroom activity - mainly in groups, for which the recommendation is to have groups of three, but there is also some whole class work and some individual work. Each pupil (and the teacher) will need a printed copy of the Analyst's Guide which is 39 pages long. The Teacher's Notes are detailed and are a further 14 pages. There is video content and the option of some Internet research. Access to computers would be useful for research, analyses and possibly report writing. Lessons are designed for use with pupils of mixed ability.

Resources provided

This Case Study contains a collection of resources, including:

  • Teacher materials: A one-page overview is provided for each lesson that describes the purpose of the lesson, appropriate preparation, outline of the activities, and the required and optional resources. In addition a 2-page detailed timed lesson plan is provided that gives detailed instructions as well as suggested prompts for students.
  • Student materials: There is a 13-page Analyst's Guide for each student. There are additional resources to be provided for each group, as detailed in the lesson overview documents.
  • Extensions: There are suggestions for supporting students of different abilities for each lesson.

Resource requirements

(including hardware & software)

  • A computer and data projector (or interactive whiteboard) with soundcard and speakers will be needed to show videos and presentations to the class.
  • QuickTime is needed to play the video: see http://www.apple.com/quicktime/
  • Some optional activities require pupil access to computers.
  • The Case Study can be used on PC or Mac.
  • Microsoft Office or an alternative, such as OpenOffice, is required to view some of the material. OpenOffice is available from http://www.openoffice.org.