7th Grade GeorgiaInquiry Challenge

Cost of Water

This 2016 Inquiry Challenge winner inquiry leads students through an investigation of water access in the Middle East using various sources that consider geographical, political and economic issues. By investigating the compelling question, students examine the geography of the region, including environmental and demographic relationships, the ecological impact of accessing water, and the subsequent political conflicts over control of natural resources. By completing this inquiry, students begin to understand issues revolving around access and control of resources, such as the consequences of power struggles that befall countries with limited access to water resources.


Compelling Question:

What is the Greatest Cost of Water?

Staging the Question:

“When the well is dry we know the value of water” ~ Ben Franklin
As a class, discuss the quote from Franklin, identifying factors that may impact the value of water.

Supporting Question Who has access to water in the Middle East?

Formative Task Complete a map of the Middle East showing geographic features, population density, and water sources.

Sources Source A: Aqueduct: Water Risk Atlas


Supporting Question How do countries in the Middle East get water?

Formative Task Create a chart that identifies and describes the effects of water collection methods used in the Middle East.

Sources Source A: AQUASTAT Database
Source B: Excerpt from “Finding the Balance”


Supporting Question How is being “water stressed” impacting populations?

Formative Task Write 1-2 paragraphs describing how being “water stressed” impacts populations in the area, citing specific supporting evidence.

Sources Sources from SQs 1 and 2
Source A: The Water Project


Supporting Question Why are conflicts arising over water?

Formative Task Make a claim supported by evidence about why conflicts are arising over water.

Sources Source A: Clip from Global Public Square, “The Coming Water Wars?”
Source B: Excerpts from: “Mideast Water Wars”
Source C: “'Islamic State' Using Water as a Weapon”

Summative Performance Task

Argument: What is the greatest cost of water? Construct an argument (e.g., detailed outline, poster, essay) that discusses the compelling question using specific claims and relevant evidence from contemporary sources while acknowledging competing views.
Extension: Use a mindmap tool, such as Popplet, to illustrate the relationship between issues of water access in the region.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Research your community’s water supply.
Assess: Determine the most pressing water-related issue affecting your community.
Act: Create a school-wide campaign to address this concern.