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Design a water efficient appliance

About this lesson

Students investigate how water efficient their homes are and use their creativity to invent a water saving appliance.


Year level: 5, 6

Theme: Water conservation


Learning objectives

Students can:
  • establish how water efficient their homes are
  • calculate total water usage at home
  • invent a water saving device
  • explain their invention by oral presentation.

Curriculum links

Science

  • Scientific understandings, discoveries and inventions are used to solve problems that directly affect peoples’ lives ACSHE083; ACSHE100

English

  • Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations for defined audiences and purposes incorporating accurate and sequenced content and multi-modal elements ACELY1700
  • Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations, selecting and sequencing appropriate content and multi-modal elements for defined audiences and purposes, making appropriate choices for modality and emphasis ACELY1710

Lesson description

Discuss

  • Ask students their understanding of the term waterwise?
  • Generate ideas on how you can be waterwise.
  • What are water efficient appliances? Provide some examples.

Activity

Part 1 – Water efficient appliances

  • Review the activity sheet and discuss what ‘variables’ are (things that vary the result of something e.g. a leaking tap, length of time spent showering, the number of times the washing machine is used in a week). Discuss how they affect the amount of water used. Emphasise that water efficient appliances need to be used appropriately to save water
  • Have students take their activity sheet home and survey the types of water efficient appliances their family use at home.
  • Students are to estimate the number of times each appliance is used in their household per week and calculate how much water is used in total.
  • Get students to bring their results back to class and discuss how they could save water including the amount of water families’ use. What is the range and why?

Part 2 – Invent a water saving appliance

Australia has a long history of innovation from the Hills Hoist to the Black box flight recorder. Explain that students are to invent a water efficient appliance or device. This could be something that saves water inside or outside the home/school or in a business/industry (students may work individually or with a partner).

  • As a starting point view the image of Caroma’s smart toilet with integrated sink and discuss how it saves water.
  • Students may create a model, diagram, poster of their invention or write a presentation about it.
  • Students give an oral presentation on their creation which should cover the following points:
    • name of invention
    • name of inventor/s
    • intended use of invention
    • materials used
    • steps taken to develop device
    • how it will save water
    • self-evaluation of the invention (e.g. what would you do next time to improve it?)

Reflect & summarise

Students vote to select 3 winners; the invention most likely to save the most water, the most creative invention and the most professionally presented invention.

Extension activities

Teacher background information

Water use in a drying climate

Perth and the South West region of WA continue to experience the effects of a drying climate. We no longer rely solely on the rain and inflow to our dams to fulfill our water needs. Becoming more climate resilient involves a balance of reducing water use, increasing the amount of water we recycle and developing new sources.

Households use most water (approximately 68%) from the Integrated Water Supply Scheme and therefore have the greatest potential to save scheme water.

Water efficiency programs

WA’s drive for greater water efficiency has produced a suite of programs to engage all community sectors to do what they can to save water. The introduction in 2001 of two days per week roster of sprinkler use for gardens in Perth was extended statewide in 2007. The winter sprinkler ban, recycling initiatives, rebate programs, leak management, showerhead retrofits and waterwise programs have saved approximately 34 billion litres of water a year. The Regional Integrated Water Efficiency Program, which ran from 2010 to 2013, involved more than 25,000 households and 800 non-residential customers in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Great Southern and Goldfields.  It included retrofits of water efficient appliances and fittings, installation of smart meters, leak detection and repair, and community based social marketing.  It is estimated the program saved almost 4.5 billion litres of water in its first year.

WELS is Australia's water efficiency labelling scheme. It allows consumers to compare the water efficiency of different products by requiring that certain products have water rating labels at the point of sale or display/advertising. The products that are currently come under the scheme are: washing machines, dishwashers, showers, urinals, toilets, taps and flow controllers (optional). To compare the water efficiency ratings of different WELS products you can search the WELS product database.

Water inventions

Some current interesting water inventions include:

A selection of the most significant innovations developed by Australians in the century since Federation can be seen at the Powerhouse Museum website.

Did you know?

Households are the biggest users of scheme water in the Perth metropolitan area (70%).

Key vocabulary

  • Retrofitting: The replacement of an existing, functioning appliance with a newer more efficient one.
  • Water appliance: Any household item associated with water.
  • Water efficient appliance: Any household item that is designed to use minimum water to achieve the same end results.
  • Waterwise: Being aware of water use and taking a water conservation approach.
  • WELS: Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme.