Generate Ideas

Your teacher will divide you into teams comprising four to six students to answer questions about the special properties of water and its ability to sustain life on Earth.  Use the resources listed under "Multiple Perspectives" to help you find the answers.  When you have finished, your team will share your answers and ideas with the other students in the class.  This exercise will help you find out what you already know and identify critical gaps in your knowledge on the topic.

Essential Questions

  1. How did water originate on Earth?
  2. What is the shape and structure of a water molecule?
  3. In many ways, water is a miracle substance.  The ways in which individual water molecules interact with each other is responsible for many unique properties.  What are some of these unique properties?
  4. The density of water is dependent on its temperature.  What is the relationship between density and temperature?
  5. How does the relationship between density and temperature make it possible for all three states of water to coexist on Earth at the same time?
  6. How are water and life connected?
  7. Water is essential for all living things on Earth.  Why is water’s ability to hold and transport heat important for life on Earth?
  8. Environmental water quality determines the suitability for human use (for example, drinking water, swimming, boating, and so on).  Water quality also affects the health of aquatic organisms that live in the water and has an impact on wildlife, which use the water for drinking or as a habitat.  What are some of the measurements made to assess water quality?
  9. What is the potential impact of toxic substances in water and high populations of certain microorganisms on the health of humans and ecosystems?
  10. What are the different water quality standards for environmental conditions, ecosystems, and intended human uses?