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Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • Biology
  • D&T
  • Mathematics

Clean water

Consider possible solutions to the world water shortage

Students will be well aware of the global water shortage and may have experienced the effects of water companies imposing drought orders in their towns. This activity is designed to see if they would be prepared to accept radical ideas to alleviate these problems. They will be asked to explore how technological developments can change the way we think and act, and to consider how local activity can contribute to solving a global problem.

This is one of a set of resources developed to support the teaching of the secondary national curriculum, particularly KS3. It has been designed to support the delivery of key topics within science and design & technology (DT). Students can learn more in our Design and build a water treatment activity.


This is an engaging starter activity in which students will consider possible solutions to the world water shortage. It encourages students to think about their own water usage and how they may be able to save water at home.

Learners will need to consider the following:

  • Where does our clean water come from?
  • What would be the consequences if our water wasn’t clean?
  • How much water do we use?
  • How much water do we waste?

Download our activity overview and worksheet for a detailed lesson plan for teaching students about clean water. We also have a class quiz.

The engineering context

Engineers are at the forefront of tackling challenges like disease control, chemical contamination, wastewater disposal, water scarcity, and flooding. They employ innovative solutions such as filters for clean water, wastewater treatment processes, desalination techniques for turning saltwater into freshwater, and flood defence systems to protect communities. Through this activity, students will get a taste of these engineering solutions, understanding how they can be applied to solve real-world problems.

Suggested learning outcomes

Upon completion of this activity, students will have gained a deeper understanding of the causes of water shortages. They'll have had the opportunity to tackle this problem head-on by designing their own water treatment plants. And they'll have explored how recent technological developments can offer new ways to solve these issues.

Download our activity sheet and other teaching resources

The activity sheet includes teachers’ notes, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students’ and your schools’ needs.

You can download our step-by-step instructions below as both a classroom lesson plan and a PowerPoint presentation.

Please do share your highlights with us @IETeducation. 


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