Start of main content
Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 60 or more mins
  • Biology
  • D&T
  • Mathematics

Water consumption

Learn how mathematicians predict UK's future water usage

In this activity students will explore water consumption by looking at mathematical modelling and its real-world application in predicting water usage. Students will estimate their daily water consumption, interpret complex data, and apply their mathematical skills to understand why water usage is a significant issue.

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 maths, science and design & technology (DT). This lesson plan follows on from Water Conservation and continues the theme of water usage developed in the Sewage Tunnels activity but can be delivered independently should the teacher wish.

Activity: Comparing water usage within the UK to that of other countries

In this activity, students start by estimating their daily water usage. They then delve into complex data from the Environment Agency, interpreting different scenarios and their potential impact on future water requirements. Students will develop their own spreadsheet tool, inspired by the one on the Southern Water website, to help others estimate their water usage. They're encouraged to improve upon the existing tool and even write to the Water Board with their suggestions.

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

The engineering context

This activity highlights the intersection of mathematics, science, policy-making, and engineering in addressing real-world problems. By engaging in this activity, students will understand how engineers use mathematical models to predict future scenarios and develop solutions for sustainable water usage. They'll see first-hand how engineering can make a significant impact on society and the environment.

Suggested learning outcomes

This lesson plan is designed to equip students with the ability to analyse and interpret a wide range of data, understand the application of mathematical modelling in real-world situations, and use their mathematical knowledge to review, recreate, and improve presented information. Students will also gain insights into the importance of water conservation and the challenges in meeting increasing water demands.

Download our activity sheet and other teaching resources

The lesson plan 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 worksheets and supporting lesson plan resources are free to download (including film clips!), 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 classroom lesson plan instructions below as well as a presentation and worksheet.

Please do share your highlights with us @IETeducation. 


Related resources