Cool Clear Water

Length of Program

60 Minutes

Program Description

“All day I face the barren waste

Without the taste of water,

Cool water

Old Dan and I with throats burned dry

And souls that cry for water,

Cool, clear, water.”

            - From “Cool Water” by Bob Nolan.

This program is designed to help teens understand the reasons we conserve water in Texas in the summer and the importance of keeping our water free of pollution. They will learn the impact that water has on our everyday lives through simple science experiments.  Afterward, invite them outside for a water balloon race and relay. 


In advance, select experiments about water and gather materials needed for them.  Conduct the experiments so that you are confident about showing them to the teens.  Gather some of the books recommended in the chapter and related titles from your collection.  Bookmark web sites listed in the chapter.  Copy the trivia sheet and create the Water Conservation Jeopardy game on the Environmental Protection Agency web site. 

Purchase balloons for the water balloon activities. Announce this in advance and make sure parents know their teens will get wet!  Invite teens to wear casual clothes and bring towels. 

Ask library staff or parents to attend and help with these activities if you will have a large group of teens. 

Books to Display

  • Earthwise at School: A Guide to the Care and Feeding of Your Planet by Linda Lowery.
  • Eco-Careers: A Guide to Jobs in the Environmental Field by John Hamilton.
  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen.

Books to Booktalk

  • How to Save the Planet by Barbara Taylor.
  • Flush by Carl Hiaasen.
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.


Serve water, water crackers, peanuts and Chex™ mix, and salt-water taffy.


Give away biospheres or terrariums as prizes. These can be found at The Discovery Store, Snow globe rings can be found at the Oriental Trading Company web site,

Games and Activities

Water Experiments

Use the water experiment books you have in your collection, such as Science Project Ideas about Rain by Robert Gardner or Water: Projects with Experiments with Water and Power by Steve Parker. The Environmental Protection Agency has ideas and links to excellent experiments at

A Simple Experiment:  Filter Muddy Water

Rainwater is cleaned as it seeps through the ground into the water table.  To demonstrate how this happens, place a coffee filter into a funnel.  Place crushed charcoal or gravel in the funnel and top it with a layer of sand.  Pour muddy water through the filter and watch what happens.

But What Can I Do?

Divide the teens into teams of two or more. Provide five web sites and five books about water conservation.  Ask each team to list twenty ways they can help conserve water in their own lives. Ask them to use all ten resources and cite their work. When the activity is completed, let the teens share their ideas for conserving water with the entire group.  Give a prize to the team with the most ideas that were not duplicated by the other teams. The Environmental Protection Agency offers ideas for water conservation at

Water Trivia

Make copies of the trivia sheets for kids on the Environmental Protection Agency web site at Distribute them to the teens and see who can answer the most questions.

Water Conservation Jeopardy

Create a Water Conservation Jeopardy game using the questions and answers on the Environmental Protection Agency web site at

Water Balloon Basketball

Set a bucket of water balloons near a basketball hoop and let the teens toss them.

Water Balloon Relay Race

Hold this activity outdoors.  You may wish to rope off an area of the library parking lot for safety.  Provide balloons for the teens to fill with water.  For the race, place more than one balloon per player in one or more bucket(s).  Divide the teens into teams and have them line up at the starting line.  Set the bucket(s) of balloons beside the starting line.  Each teen picks up a balloon, runs to the finish line, and sits on the balloon until it pops.  They then return to the start line and the next person on their team takes a turn.  If their water balloon pops before they reach the finish line they must go back and get another.  The first team that finishes wins!

Water Balloon Race

Make two teams with an equal number of teens on each.  Place a bucket of water balloons at the starting line.  On the word “go,” the first teen on each team picks up a water balloon, places it under his or her chin, and races to the finish line and back.  At the starting line, the teens pass the water balloons to the next team member without using their hands.  If a balloon breaks, the player has to get a new balloon and start over.  If a balloon drops and it does not break, the teen must pick it up and put it under his chin without using his hands, and continue the race. 

Water Balloon Toss

Teens get into pairs, facing each other, with one holding a water balloon. They toss back and forth, and take one step back after each toss.  If a balloon is dropped and pops, that pair is out of the game.  If it falls to the ground and does not pop, the pair keeps playing.  The pair that keeps their water balloon from popping the longest wins.

Water Balloon Volleyball

Set up a volleyball net. Divide the teens into two teams and give each one a sheet.  All of the teens on each team hold onto their sheet.  Place a water balloon on one sheet.  The teens must use teamwork to flip it over the net.  The opposing team must catch it in their sheet and then flip it back.  Keep score!  The first team to successfully volley ten water balloons over the net wins.

Web-Based Activities

Thirstin’s Question and Answer Game

Test your knowledge of water conservation with this interactive quiz.

Professional Resources

Science Project Ideas about Rain by Robert Gardner.

Water: Projects with Experiments with Water and Power by Steve Parker.

The Discovery Store

This web site sells products related to programming on the Discovery Channel.

Environmental Protection Agency

This federal agency provides information on many different ways to explore conservation and has experiments teens can do themselves, as well as quizzes and trivia games.

Oriental Trading Company

This carnival supply company sells inexpensive incentives and prizes.


Texas Reading Club 2007 Programming Manual / Sail Away with Books!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011