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        P.S. Illinois: Tapped Out and Running Dry Lesson Plan

        Critical water shortages threaten the United States and the entire world. Discover the impacts of a dwindling water supply and a growing global population in P.S. Illinois: Tapped Out and Running Dry. Students and teachers will explore possibilities for averting catastrophic water shortages as they read a Simon article and view excerpts from "P.S. Illinois: The Paul Simon Story" and "Running Dry," inspired by Simon’s book Tapped Out.

        Lesson Summary


        This lesson helps students understand the importance of water in societies and on a global scale. Students will explore relationships between human populations and the physical world, and use critical thinking skills to develop solutions for scarce resources. Students will read informational texts and express ideas.

        Grade Levels:

        • 7-12

        Suggested Time:

        • 2-3 class periods

        Multimedia Resources:

        P.S. Illinois: Tapped Out and Running Dry video

        P.S. Illinois: Water Shortage a Real Problem Unless We Plan PDF document

        Before the Lesson:

        Review the resources ahead of time to prepare for the lesson.

        • Watch P.S. Illinois: Tapped Out and Running Dry video

        • Read P.S. Illinois: Water Shortage a Real Problem Unless We Plan PDF document

        • Print and make copies of the PDF document

        • Print and make copies of the discussion questions. An alternative is to display the document on screen using classroom technology.

        • Consider how to prepare students to discuss the subject matter. Develop additional discussion questions as necessary to connect the subject matter to topics the class has already studied.

        The Lesson: 

        Part I – 

        • View P.S. Illinois: Tapped Out and Running Dry video and read P.S. Illinois: Water Shortage a Real Problem Unless We Plan PDF document. This can be done in the classroom or assigned as homework the night before. 

        • Break the class into small groups to answer discussion questions. 

        • Review the answers with the class.

        Part II -

        Ask students to create a short presentation (3-5 minutes in length)* in response to the video, essay and class discussion. In their responses, students should consider the following:

        • In 2000, Paul Simon advances several predictions concerning water use, geographic regions, and worldwide populations. Use the internet to research whether these predictions have happened. Compare what is happening today with what was happening when this article was written. What did you find out?
        • How is the United States of America doing in terms of the action items Paul Simon urged in the Chicago Tribune newspaper article?
        • Are sales of bottled water in the United States justifiable in terms of water shortage problems? Provide reasons to justify your answers.

        * Presentations may be created utilizing PowerPoint, Animoto, Prezi or another preferred method. In larger classes, students may be divided into groups of two or three  to ensure all presentations can be completed in one class period.

        Culminating Activity:

        Students will deliver their presentations to the class to demonstrate an understanding of the subject matter.


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