Undoubtedly, children of all ages will be fascinated to learn that the world is mostly made of water--not land. In fact, over 70% of the Earth's surface is made entirely of water! Furthermore, scientists estimate that approximately 97.5% of that water appears in the form of salt water. That means that it is not available for us to drink. We only have approximately 2.5% of fresh water, and most of that is frozen in polar icecaps or lies deep under the ground. What is left is less than 1% of all of the fresh water on Earth--in the form of lakes, rivers, reservoirs and shallow underground sources--available for direct human uses.
These facts can be reinforced with paper collage preschool crafts. "World" images are created by the students using a torn paper technique. Below you will find the instructions and list of materials you will need to begin the project. You may also wish to create a finished sample for the children to reference as they create their own.
- paper plates or strawberry baskets (one per student)
- 9"x12" sheets of blue construction paper
- 9"x12" sheets of green construction paper
- glue sticks (one for each student)
- paper clip (one for each student) - optional
- clear fishing wire - optional
one copy of a blank world image for each student, reproduced on heavy white or cream-colored cardstock or construction paper
Prepare for the craft ahead of time by cutting the 9"x12" sheets of blue and green construction paper into 1"x9" strips. While students will need a varying quantity of these strips, you will most certainly need more blue strips than green strips. You may find that you will have to cut additional strips during the activity, so have the necessary materials on hand as a back-up. If you are short on time, you may also want to prepare ahead by cutting out the individual world maps for each student. Otherwise, you can have the children cut this out on their own during work time.
Begin by asking the children to spend some time tearing their 1"x9" strips of blue and green construction paper into pieces. You will most likely need to demonstrate this process. The pieces should not be too large or too small. Pieces that are approximately 1/2" in size work well. Keep in mind that, since the students are tearing the strips, the pieces will be irregular in shape and size. Pieces can be contained on a paper plate or in a strawberry basket. This will keep them from winding up on the floor!
Next, introduce the above information about the water of the world to your students. You may even wish to use the storybook, All the Water in the World, by George Ella Lyon, as a read-aloud to reinforce the lesson.
Explain to the students that they will use the torn pieces of paper to demonstrate that the world is made mostly of water. If you have not already done so, ask the children to use a pair of scissors to cut out the round world image, which has been reproduced on the piece of white or cream cardstock. Ask them to notice that some areas of the map have a letter W, while other areas have a letter L. The areas with a letter W are areas on the Earth's surface that are covered in water, while the areas showing a letter L are land-masses.
Their job is to use a glue stick to affix the torn pieces of paper onto the world map. The blue pieces of torn paper will be glued to the areas with a letter W, and the green pieces of torn paper will be glued to the areas on the map showing the letter L. Remind students that it is okay if their pieces of torn paper overlap. In fact, when they are finished, they should not be able to find any white spaces still showing. Like a puzzle, they may find that they have to search through their pile of torn pieces to find a right fit, or tear a piece even smaller. They may also find that they have too many or too few pieces of torn paper. They can share with one another, or tear more as needed.
Afterward, you may wish to trim the edges of the circle, to remove any ends sticking out. If you like, you may string a paper clip through the top of their world collages. Add clear fishing line, and the collages can be suspending from the ceiling of the classroom for display.
When the students have finished, have them notice that most of their paper collage is blue. Remind them that this is because most of the Earth's surface is covered in water--not land.