Planning—Dealing with Drought

Summary: Global climate models predict that Oregon will experience a reduction of water availability, increased drought, and increased chances for wildfire in coming years. In this topic guide, students brainstorm steps they, their families and their schools can take to plan for these conditions.

Concepts to teach:


  1. During drought conditions, people need to use water resources wisely
  2. There are personal actions everyone can take to reduce their water use
  3. By monitoring and sharing local precipitation data, citizens can help scientists and managers better understand drought

Standards: NGSS Performance Expectations

  • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

Specific Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. List three practical ways they can use less water at home or school
  2. Quantify the effect of a behavior change on the amount of water used or saved
  3. Collect and share local precipitation to help contribute to a better understanding of drought

Activity Links and Resources:

  • Background information for teachers: The Oregon Climate Change Adaptation Framework, 2010—Assessment of Very Likely and Likely risks associated with climate change, and short-term Action Items for addressing these risks.
    • Reduced water availability (p. 20-25) Very likely
    • Wildfire (p. 26 -31)
    • Drought (p. 39-43)
  • Drought for Kids from the National Drought Mitigation Center provides resources for understanding and dealing with drought, including:
    • Assessing Drought in the United States 6 minute video from CoCoRaHS, which explains how decision makers use a variety of data and in-person reports to assess the drought conditions across the United States
  • U.S. Drought Monitor—Check current drought conditions across the country
    • Use the map and the color key to identify which areas of the country are currently experiencing drought conditions.
    • Locate your school’s location on the state map. What are the current conditions in your area?
  • Activity: As a class, brainstorm ways students can reduce their water use at home and at school
    • Visit the OCEP Water Use topic guide in Module 2 for additional water conservation ideas
    • Decide on one or two specific actions everyone in the class will take to reduce personal or classroom water consumption. Have students journal about their experience, and collect data quantifying the amount of water used or saved.
  • Activity: Contribute to local understanding of drought by collecting and sharing precipitation data through the CoCoRaHS network


  • Students share their water conservation experience with others through writing, data charts, art, etc.
  • Collect, share and compare local precipitation levels through the CoCoRaHS network