Lesson 4: Water maths – Global statistics

For use with Water maths

Learning objectives

Lack of access to safe water is a problem of enormous scale worldwide.
It is a situation which could be radically improved if action were taken.


What to do:

  • Off screen explain the nature of the activity to the children. Although they will be dealing in very large numbers, the way pie charts and graphs work is no different whatever the number.
  • Discuss the concept of a ‘billion’ as a thousand million. Have the children heard the number being used anywhere? Do they have an idea approximately how many people live on Earth?
  • Resources such as Water Numerate and If the world were a village provide techniques for seeing these concepts in manageable ways (see Recommended resources).
  • Either in consecutive or simultaneous groups, ask the children to have a go at the activities on screen. Ask them to report back on their findings and how they feel about them. There is now case study and statistical evidence, enough to make a formidable case.
            To whom could they communicate their feelings and findings?
            In what media and format?
            Are there other responses children think appropriate to make?

Next steps

We recommend that you follow this activity with Water solutions: Case studies, which explores how people have worked together to overcome water shortage.

Further development

  • On or off screen, extend practice in data handling by using data from the water consumption fact box, Water Numerate and If the world were a village to devise puzzles like the ones in Water for All. The children could establish the best way of recording the given data and then deconstruct it into a task for others to do.
  • Encourage active citizenship through writing for a particular audience. Use ICT, video, letters or posters to develop children's responses to the case studies in the previous lesson. Let them refine these ready for communicating via an assembly, or for sending/showing to an elected representative.
  • Practice communication technology skills by creating a simple web page outlining the children’s learning and views, and inviting responses. Let the local community know about it.
  • Develop critical enquiry by collecting questions from the children about what they’ve learnt. Identify one together for the class community to investigate through dialogue (see Building dialogue and Recommended resources)

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Oxfam logo: Click here to visit the main Oxfam GB website Oxfam Education: Click here to visit Oxfam's website for teachers and children Locked tap: Click here for the learning activity associated with this image Click here for the introduction to Water for All