Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: One Well: The Story of Water on Earth

So often we are caught up in our own world and don’t necessarily think about how our actions affect others and the environment. One Well: The Story of Water on Earth, written by Rochelle Strauss and illustrated by Rosemary Woods, helps to introduce and remind students that resources are continuously recycling by documenting the stages of the Earth’s water cycle.

In their book Strauss and Woods simplify the water cycle by suggesting that all water on earth comes from one well. This metaphor illustrates the process of water changing states in completing the water cycle. On each page different consumers of the water is highlighted including plants, animals, people.

The amount of water on Earth doesn’t change–there’s no more water now than when the dinosaurs walked the Earth. The same water just keeps going through a cycle over and over again. This constant movement of water is called the water cycle.

While each page covers different background content necessary to understand how water is recycled into the one well, the informational facts and that are presented on the illustrated pages can help put into perspective the total amount of water used by various household tasks, organisms, and countries.

  • In North American homes, the bathroom is where about three-quarters of all water is used. One flush of the toilet uses nearly 3.5 gallons.

  • In one year, an area of rainforest the size of a football field pumps over 19,700 gallons of water vapor into the atmosphere–more than enough to fill a backyard swimming pool.

  • China and India are home to over one-third of the world’s population, yet they only have access to one-tenth of the world’s freshwater.

Through this book students will understand how water is repeatedly reused due to the water cycle. Additionally the concept of ‘one well’ and the various statistics about the use of water students will become more aware of the interdependence that extends across the Earth.

Curriculum Connections
This book can be used for upper elementary grades to introduce  the steps of the water cycle and reinforce the interdependence between all living things. In Virginia this correlates specifically to standards 3.9bcd which concentrates on the processes involved in the water cycle, the need of water for all living things, and that water conservation is necessary with the unchanging water supply.

Additional Resources

  • This site is a great reference to water cycle interactive games including animations, short plays, diagrams, poems, games, and printables.
  • To better understand how our actions affect others throughout the world students can complete an ecological footprint to discover their direct influence on the planet.
  • Here students can find useful tips of how to conserve water within their homes.

Book: One Well: The Story of Water on Earth
Author: Rochelle Strauss
Illustrator: Rosemary Woods
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 32 pages
Grades: 3-5
ISBN: 1553379543