Kenny came running into the kitchen and plopped himself down at the kitchen table. He noticed his Dad was by the sink and was drinking a tall glass of water so he asked his Dad if he could have a glass of water too.
“I’m in a hurry to get to the school, so why don’t you just finish my glass of water?” he responded as he handed Kenny the glass.
Kenny had a sip of the room temperature water and replied, “How old is this water?”
“To tell you the truth, I’m not one hundred percent sure. It could quite possibly be billions of years old,” was his Dad’s response as he was slipping out the door. Kenny said goodbye to his dad as Kenny smiled, rolled his eyes and shook his head. His Dad had just enough time to say he was being serious before he shut the door.
Kenny was dumbfounded. “Could water be billions of years old?” he thought to himself? Kenny’s Dad wouldn’t have said he was serious if he really wasn’t serious. Kenny went to the sink to empty his glass of water and opted to have a glass of milk instead, which was really a surprise because he didn’t like milk.
It was a surprise for Kenny’s mom and dad later during supper when Kenny declined to drink his mom’s homemade iced tea and asked to drink milk instead. They were surprised but happy to hear him asking for milk to drink without any coaxing whatsoever. Kenny didn’t explain to them why he did not want to drink his mom’s iced tea. He’d rather drink milk that had an expiry date printed on the bottle than really old water his mom had to use in order to make iced tea.
At bedtime, the usual ritual was for Kenny’s Mom to stop in with a small glass of water for Kenny to have by his beside. Kenny told his Mom that he would not need her to bring him water anymore.
“Why?” she asked in surprise.
“Dad told me the water is billions of years old and I don’t want to drink water that is that old,” he told his Mom.
“Your Dad may have been exaggerating to an extent because he can’t possibly know for a fact how old water really is. Besides it doesn’t really matter exactly how old the water really is because I do know that it is safe for us to drink” his mom assured him.
Kenny did not know what to make of all this water business. He supposed it must be safe to drink because he had been drinking the water all these years and he hadn’t died yet because of it. It hadn’t ever even made him sick. As he was debating whether he should keep drinking water or not, he heard his mom telling his Dad that she was really thirsty.
“Is that today’s fresh water by your bedside,” she asked her husband?
“No it is day old but you can have some if you like,” he responded.
Kenny’s mom said “No thanks. I don’t want to drink your day old water. I’ll get up to get some fresh water. Thanks for the offer anyway.”
Kenny was really confused now. Why did his parents both tell him the water is billions of years old? Now Dad said it was a day old and Mom refused to drink day old water but yet said it was safe to drink when it was billions of years old. What did she mean when she said she would get herself some fresh water? Kenny fell asleep while wondering about how the water could be fresh and billions of years old at the same time.
In the morning, Kenny quickly got dressed so that he could talk to his dad about his concerns with the age of the water they were drinking. He explained to his Dad his befuddlement with the idea of water being billions of years old and yet his Mom would not drink day old water and at the same time said that it was safe for us to drink even though it was so old. Kenny’s dad proceeded to talk to him about the global water cycle.
Kenny’s dad asked him if he remembered learning about how water evaporates from puddles into the air. He further went on to explain how the sun beats down on the surface of different bodies of water, like the lakes and oceans and evaporates into the air or atmosphere and turns into water vapor. An example of water vapor is the steam you see coming out of a tea kettle when the water is boiling. When we water our garden plants, the water goes to the roots and climbs up the plants and then transpiration occurs. Transpiration is what we call the water that is evaporating from plants. The evaporated water from the plants and bodies of water goes into the air as water vapors to form clouds. Condensation takes place as the water vapors get squished together, are cooled and stored in the clouds as water droplets. Finally, the water vapor that has been condensed to form water droplets comes down from the clouds as precipitation which can be in the form of rain, snow, sleet or hail. The water comes back down to the earth into our lakes and oceans. Some of the water will go down into the earth to become groundwater but some of the water is drained away from the ground and runs off into the lakes and oceans which is what we call runoff. The surface water will be evaporated again and all the processes will occur again. The global water cycle process between the oceans, land and atmosphere just keeps repeating itself over and over again. The water cycle is as old as the earth is. Scientists say the earth is around 4.5 billion years old.
“Don’t worry son,” his Dad finished, “water is made safe to drink, before it comes through our water taps.”
Kenny thanked his Dad for explaining how water could be said to be so very old but how could the water coming out of the tap be safe to drink. He asked, “How do we know what the expiry date is?”
His Dad smiled as he got up to go to work and said that they would discuss that problem later at supper time.
Kenny smiled as he poured himself a glass of ice tea for breakfast.
5 Concluding Questions to Support Class Discussion or Independent Study based on
1. Knowledge: What is Kenny confused about? / What is the discrepancy in this narrative?
2. Comprehension: Discuss how water may be billions of years old.
3. Application: Draw a picture of how the water cycle works and label the different parts of the cycle. / Demonstrate your understanding of the water cycle with a labeled illustration.
4. Analysis: What are the differences and similarities between evaporation and transpiration? / Compare evaporation and transpiration.
8-4-01 Vocabulary: global water systems, condensation, evaporation, precipitation, runoff, transpiration, groundwater, bodies of water
8-4-06 Describe the components of the global water cycle and explain how it works.
GLO: D3, D5, E2
The students will understand the properties and structures of matter as well as various common manifestations and applications of the actions and interactions of matter. They will also understand the compositions of the Earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, as well as the processes involved within and among them. The students will be able to describe and appreciate how the natural and constructed world is made up of systems and how interactions take place within and among these systems.
My narrative story is about a young boy named Kenny who is confused about how a drink of water could possibly be fresh and billions of years old at the same time. A sense of disequilibrium was formed until Kenny’s Dad proceeded to talk to Kenny about how the global water cycle works and how the cycle is as old as the earth, which is estimated by some scientists to be around 4.5 billion years old. With the explanation of the water cycle, we achieve cognitive equilibrium.
The questions that follow the narrative can be done either individually or as a group and may be answered in an oral fashion or written fashion. The last question incorporates a think-pair-share strategy.
Bloom, B.S.. (Ed.). (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of education goals: Handbook I, cognitive domain from my First Year Language Arts Class Notes 132.110 Fall 2004. New York; Toronto: Longmans, Green.
Clancy, Christina (et al). (1999). Sciencepower 8 – Science-Technology-Society-Environment, Toronto, Ontario: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited.