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Spirit Of The Water

Elective Adventure

Water is an important force in our lives. It can be as gentle as a spring sun-shower or as powerful as a hurricane. All living things need water to live, but we use water for more than just survival. In this Adventure, you will learn where the water you use comes from and how to conserve it. 

Requirements

Discover where the water in your home comes from.
H2O Discovery Day
LocationTravel
Energy 4
Supply List1
Prep Time4

Visit a river or other body of water to learn where your drinking water comes from.

Before the meeting: 

  1. Locate a river or other source of water that you can visit and pick a spot where you can safely visit. 
  2. Inform Cub Scouts’ parent or legal guardian about the visit and ask them to fill out an Activity Consent Form. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Gather Cub Scouts at the meeting spot. 
  2. Ask Cub Scouts questions such as these:
     

    • Did you know your drinking water comes from here? 
    • How clean do you think this water is? 
    • Would you drink it just like this? 
    • How do you think our town cleans the water? 
    • How do we get more water? 
My Water
LocationIndoor
Energy 2
Supply List3
Prep Time3

Create a poster showing the water cycle for your community. 

  • Large poster board 22”x28,” one for each Cub Scout 
  • Markers and crayons 
  • Construction paper 
  • Tape or glue 
  • Scissors  

Before the meeting: 

  1. Visit the CDC Drinking Water website for information on tap water sources in the United States. 
  2. From your local water district, learn where the water in your area comes from.  
  3. Gather supplies on a table large enough to accommodate your Cub Scout den. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Gather Cub Scouts and discuss where they think the water in their house comes from. Questions to ask:

    • Where can you find a lot of water?  
    • Can you drink water from the ocean? From a lake? 
    • How is the water cleaned before entering your house? 
    • How is the water supply replaced? 
  2. Have Cub Scouts make a poster that shows where the water started and the journey to get to their house.  
Water Expert
LocationIndoor
Energy 1
Supply List1
Prep Time5

Have a professional who works in the water treatment industry speak to the den about where water used at home comes from.

  • No supplies needed 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Contact your local water treatment plant or municipality that manages water utilities.  
  2. Identify someone who can speak to the den about where the water used in residential homes in your community comes from and how it is treated.  
  3. Confirm date, time, and location of den meeting with guest speaker.  

During the meeting: 

  1. Gather the Cub Scouts and introduce the guest speaker. 
  2. Have the guest speaker discuss where the water that is used in homes in your community comes from and how it gets from the source to home and how it is treated and what happens to water when it goes down the drain or toilet.  
  3. Give Cub Scouts opportunities to ask questions. 
  4. Thank the guest speaker when done. 
Discuss how water can become polluted.
Aqua Pollution
LocationIndoor
Energy 3
Supply List3
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts demonstrate how pollution can enter our groundwater. 

  • Clear glass loaf pan or baking pan, 9”x13”, 1 per two Cub Scouts 
  • Powdered drink mix, red or purple in color 
  • Sand 
  • Spray bottle filled with water 
  • Book or small block of wood 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Set up workspace for Cub Scouts.  

During the meeting: 

  1. Ask Cub Scouts to make a small pile of powdered drink mix in one end of the clear glass pan. 
  2. Have them sprinkle sand over the rest of the pan. 
  3. Place the end of the pan with the powdered drink mix on top of the book or wood block so the pan is tilted. 
  4. Using the spray bottle of water have Cub Scouts wet the sand. Make sure it’s really wet. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then wet it again. 
  5. Carefully lift up the pan and look underneath it. What is happening? 
  6. As you can see, the water is carrying the powdered drink mix through the pan. Pollutants spread through our sources of water the same way. They can travel a long distance and can damage drinking water miles from where the pollution starts! 
River Rangers: Detecting Water Contaminants
LocationIndoor
Energy 3
Supply List2
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts learn how water can become polluted. 

  • Access to River Rangers story found in Additional Resources 
  • A clear plastic washtub big enough to hold several gallons of water (a clear plastic storage container would work well) 
  • Enough clean water to fill the plastic washtub 3/4 full 
  • Tarp, sheet, or plastic tablecloth 
  • Slotted spoon 
  • Spoon 
  • Tongs 
  • Other tools useful for moving small items 
  • Laundry soap 
  • Salt 
  • Vegetable oil  
  • Small pieces of paper 
  • Small pieces of trash and food 
  • Several bottles of food coloring 
  • Rocks and soil 
  • Towels 
  • Trashcan 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Ensure access to River Rangers story either by printing the story or using a smart device.  
  2. Set out the salt, food coloring, paper, trash pieces, vegetable oil, soil and rocks, and laundry soap.  
  3. Set up workspace for Cub Scouts. Fill a clear washtub with water and place it on the tarp, sheet, or plastic tablecloth in the center of your meeting room. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Have Cub Scouts choose an item and hold on to it. 
  2. Ask Cub Scouts to circle around the washtub and tell them that you’re going to share a story. When you call their name during the story, they put their item into the washtub. 
  3. Start reading the River Rangers story. As you read each name, ask the Cub Scouts to put their item into the washtub. 
  4. When you are finished with the story, have Cub Scouts examine the washtub.  
  5. Ask Cub Scouts if they think the water can still be used for drinking, swimming, and living in.  
  6. Have Cub Scouts take turns removing their item with a utensil such as a slotted spoon or tongs.  Explain that they are removing pollution from the lake.  
  7. As they remove their item, ask if the item was easy or difficult to remove.  Larger items are  easily cleared away, but some can’t be removed from the water. That’s why it is important to take care of the water before it becomes polluted! 

Tip: More than one Cub Scout can select an item if there are more than seven in your den. 

Water Warriors: Pollution Busters
LocationIndoor
Energy 1
Supply List3
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts identify which items contribute to polluting water and which will help keep water clean. 

  • Items that pollute water:
     

    • Plastic bottles and bags 
    • Chemical containers 
    • Motor oil container 
    • Non-biodegradable soap 
    • Trash 
    • Pesticide or fertilizer containers 
  • Items that can help keep the water clean:

    • Reusable water bottle 
    • Biodegradable soap 
    • Plant or soil 
    • Eco-friendly cleaning supplies 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Gather some of the items that pollute water and some that keep water clean.  
  2. Put the items on a tray or table but mix them together. 

 During the meeting: 

  1. Gather the Cub Scouts and share with them that there are some things that when not properly disposed of can get into our water supply. 
  2. Tell Cub Scouts that you’re going to hold up an item, and they will vote on whether it helps or hurts water cleanliness. 
  3. After each item, ask Cub Scouts to share how the item helps or hurts water cleanliness. 
  4. Make sure to discuss how to properly dispose of items that can be harmful to the water supply.  

Tip:  This activity could be done as part of the visit to a water treatment plant or guest speaker.

Share some ways you can conserve water in your home.
How Much Water Do I Use?
LocationIndoor
Energy 1
Supply List2
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts learn about wasting water in their home.

  • Four water bills, one for winter, spring, fall, and summer 
  • Laptop or smart device 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Print out your water bill for one month during each of the seasons. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Share the water bills with Cub Scouts.
     

    • How many gallons a month were used? 
    • Did the number of gallons change based on the season? 
    • Why are some months higher than other months? 
  2. Using a laptop or smart device, go to the USGS “How Much Water Do You Use at Home?” form.  Work with the Cub Scouts to fill it out.  The form will give a quick idea of water usage in a home.  Have the Cub Scouts compare water usage. 
  3. Ask Cub Scouts for ideas on how they could use less water.

    • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. 
    • When hand washing dishes, do not let the water run continuously. 
    • Take a five-minute shower. 
    • Fix faucet leaks. 
    • Water the yard early in the morning or in the evening so that the water does not evaporate quickly in the heat of the day.  Check if your community has rules or restrictions on water lawns.
Splash Savers Memory Match
LocationIndoor
Energy 2
Supply List2
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts learn about water conservation by playing a card matching game.

  • Splash Savers Memory Match cards found in Additional Resources  
  • Printer  
  • Card stock 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Print Splash Savers Memory Match cards, one set of cards for every two Cub Scouts. Cut out the cards. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Ask Cub Scouts to buddy up. 
  2. Give each pair of Cub Scouts a set of memory match cards.  
  3. Ask Cub Scouts to shuffle the cards and lay them face down in a grid pattern. 
  4. Tell Cub Scouts to take turns trying to match the cards by turning over two at a time. If Cub Scout makes a match, they put the two matching cards in a pile and get another turn. If the cards don’t match, their buddy tries to make a match. 
  5. The person with the most cards when they are all matched wins. 

Splash Savers Memory Match cards

Water Conservation Word Search
LocationIndoor
Energy 2
Supply List2
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts will find water conservation-related words in a word search puzzle.

  • Water Conservation Word Search found Additional Resources 
  • Pencil or pen for each Cub Scout 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Print Water Conservation Word Search, one for each Cub Scout. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Pass out a copy of the word search and a pencil or pen to each Cub Scout. 
  2. Have Cub Scouts find all the words. 

Water Conservation Word Search

Discover how water in your community is treated to become safe to drink.
Clean H2O Creations
LocationIndoor
Energy 3
Supply List4
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts learn about filtering water by making their own water filter. 

  • One 2-liter empty and clean plastic bottle for every two Cub Scouts  
  • Dirty water, mix together

    • 1 cup water 
    • 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds 
    • 1 tablespoon of crunched-up dried leaves 
    • 1 tablespoon of uncooked rice 
  • One paper cup for every two Cub Scouts 
  • Spoons for sand and gravel 
  • Sand 
  • Gravel 
  • Cotton balls 
  • Three coffee filters for every two Cub Scouts 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Cut the plastic bottles in half.  
  2. Set up an area with sand, gravel, cotton balls, and coffee filters.  
  3. Make a water filter following the directions below to use a model. 
  4. Make a batch of dirty water for every two Cub Scouts. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Gather Cub Scouts and share with them that no matter where the source of water comes from before it gets to your house it is filtered.  There are several different ways to filter water and in most areas several methods are used.  Most filtering systems start with removing solid items from the water, things like dirt, sand, and rocks.  Today we are going to make our own filter to demonstrate how filters can remove solid items from water.  
  2. Have Cub Scouts buddy up. 
  3. Pass out the bottles and paper cups to each pair of Cub Scouts. Pour about a cup of dirty water into the paper cup. 
  4. Have Cub Scouts flip the bottle’s top half over and put it in the bottom, so the top looks like a funnel. Tell them they’ll build their filter in the top part. 
  5. Have Cub Scouts build their filter by using coffee filters, sand, gravel, and cotton balls.  
  6. After Cub Scouts have built their filters, have them slowly pour their dirty water over the filter. 
  7. Ask Cub Scouts what their water looks like after it has gone through the filter compared to how it looked before. What do they think happened? 
  8. Tell the Cub Scouts that before this water can be clean enough to drink it still would need to be treated to remove the things, we can’t see in the water like bacteria that can make us sick.
Clean Water Quest Tour
LocationTravel
Energy 4
Supply List1
Prep Time5

Visit a water treatment plant.

Before the meeting: 

  1. Contact your local water treatment plant to schedule a tour. 
  2. Inform Cub Scouts’ parent or legal guardian about the visit and ask them to fill out an Activity Consent Form. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Gather Cub Scouts outside the water treatment plant. 
  2. Encourage Cub Scouts to ask questions. 
  3. Thank the person who guided the tour.  

After the meeting: 

  1. Write a thank you note to the water treatment plant tour guide and send. 
Hiking Filters
LocationIndoor
Energy 2
Supply List5
Prep Time2

Cub Scouts learn how a backpacking water filter works.

  • Pitcher of water 
  • Table salt 
  • Small cups, enough for one per Cub Scout 
  • 32-ounce water bottle 
  • Backpacking water filter  

During the meeting: 

  1. Gather Cub Scouts and share with them that no matter where the source of water comes from before it gets to your house it is filtered.  There are several different ways to filter water and in most areas several methods are used.  Most filtering systems start with removing solid items from the water, things like dirt, sand, and rocks.  When we are on a campout or hiking and we find a natural source of water we must filter it first before drinking it. 
  2. Explain to Cub Scouts that water filters purify water by passing it through a filter, which blocks the bad things 
  3. Pour water into each cup and allow Cub Scouts to drink it.  Ask them how it tasted. 
  4. Add a small amount of salt to the pitcher of water. 
  5. Pour a small amount of salted water into each cup and allow Cub Scouts to taste.  Ask them how it tasted. 
  6. Use the hiking filter to filter the salted water into the water bottle. 
  7. Pour filtered water into each cup and allow Cub Scouts to taste.  Ask them how it tasted. 
Print

Safety Moment

Adventure Safety Moment 

Prior to any activity, use the BSA SAFE Checklist to ensure the safety of all those involved.  

All participants in official BSA Scouting activities should become familiar with the Guide to Safe Scoutingand applicable program literature or manuals.   

Be aware of state or local government regulations that supersede BSA practices, policies, and guidelines.  

Before conducting a craft activity, review the Craft Tips video (2 minutes 34 seconds.) 

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