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Can you students save a city from upcoming water shortages?

Cities and countries around the world are facing unprecedented water shortages. Climate change and a growing population are both contributing to this emerging global crisis. In 2018, Cape Town was days away from running out of water. Bangalore is expected to run out of ground water this year.

Your students have been set the challenge to develop a solution which can combat water scarcity in cities such as Cape Town and Bangalore.

It could be an innovation or a water management strategy: anything to provide a greater supply of fresh water to those who need it the most.

Are they up to the The Big Dry challenge?


Over 10-20 contact hours, students work in small teams through eduSTEM’s design thinking process to understand, design, and test a solution to this social challenge.

Phase 1: Empathise & Define

Students will identify the distribution and uses of water resources across different countries and examine how water availability is changing, what is causing this phenomenon, and how it is impacting people living amidst water scarcity. They will interact with climate and rainfall data to help them understand correlations between changing weather patterns, population growth, and water scarcity.

Phase 2: Ideate

Students will examine case studies of how water scarcity is being tackled on a local and national level around the world. Then, through divergent and convergent thinking, they must develop a range of solution ideas, assess the feasibility of those ideas, and choose one to prototype further.

Phase 3: Prototype & Test

Students must design a prototype of their innovative water-saving measure, or new government water-saving policy, and test it to ensure it would work if applied in the real world. They must then present their idea in the final Showcase and explain how it would lead to a more secure water future.


The Big Dry can be used to both teach and assess the following curriculum point and

General Capabilities


· GE4-1/ACHGK037/VCGGK107

o Students investigate the spatial distribution of global water resources and why water availability varies across countries

· GE4-2/ACHGK038/VCGGK106

o Students apply their knowledge of the water cycle to determine how water resources are replenished in different countries and landscapes

· GE4-3/ACHGK039/VCGGK108

o Students consider both natural and human-driven causes of water scarcity and must examine the future of water availability in their focus country

· GE4-5/ACHGK040/VCGGK110

o Students must, using what they know about water scarcity, devise a strategy for overcoming it in their focus country

General Capabilities

Creative and Critical Thinking

· Inquiring, identifying, exploring and organizing information and ideas

· Generating ideas, possibilities and actions

· Analysing, synthesizing, evaluating, reasoning and procedures

· Reflecting on thinking and processes

Personal and Social Capability:

· Self-awareness

· Social awareness

· Social management

· Self-management

Intercultural Understanding

· Interacting and empathizing with others

· Reflecting on intercultural experiences and taking responsibility

· Recognizing culture and developing respect

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