Chez moi et dans le monde entier: Exploring our use and relationship with water
Lesson 02: Comment préserver l'eau à la maison? 

Submitted by Jill Pearson


Students will...

  • show an understanding of the amount of water different activities use
  • demonstrate understanding and the ability to use different systems of liquid measurement
  • gain insight into perspectives of water conservation

Students will...

  • recognize that other cultures use different units of measurement
  • interpret images representative of European products that differ slightly from American products

Language: Content Obligatory
Students will...

  • use reflexive, pronominal, and other regular and irregular verbs in the present and past tense to describe their quotidian activities with se laver (les mains, les cheveux, la figure), se brosser les dents, se baigner, prendre une douche, chasser l’eau, laver (les fruits/légumes, etc.), boire, nettoyer, faire la vaisselle, faire la lessive, etc.
  • make collective suggestions using the nous imperative with verbs such as fermer, utiliser, se laver, conserver, etc.
  • express quantities in liters and gallons using numbers into the hundreds

Language: Content Compatible
Students will...

  • narrate past events using the passé composé of verbs such as se laver, se baigner, se brosser, prendre, chasser, boire, faire, etc.
  • make predictions using present tense verbs followed by relative pronoun que like je pense que…, je crois que…
  • cite a source using selon followed by the source such as selon l’article.
  • express surprise or lack of surprise using the 3rd person singular of “astonishment” verb phrases like ça m’étonne, ça ne m’étonne pas
  • share information using emphatic pronouns like moi, j’ai fait la vaisselle…
  • discuss possibilities using the first and third person singular present tense of pouvoir + infinitives such as je peux fermer le robinet, on peut conserver…

Learning Strategies / Social and Skills Development:
Students will...

  • use background knowledge
  • make predictions
  • locate and use resources
  • personalize language and ideas
  • use selective attention in pre-reading task
  • find patterns in language structures
  • use cognates to help comprehend the reading
  • use imagery to understand information in the text

Time Frame:

One 55-minute period + 10 minute follow-up

Materials Needed:

  • Water use tracking worksheet:  Mon utilisation d’eau (see attachments)
  • liter and gallon bottles
  • copies of reading Comment préserver l’eau à la maison (see attachments)
  • calculators
  • T-chart for reading:  Activités pour conserver l’eau (see attachments)
  • Transparency of T-chart

Description of Assessment (Performance Project):

Pre-Reading Tasks:
We will begin by discussing our findings from the previous day’s assignment involving recording how many times we use water in our daily life and for what purposes.  I will begin by sharing some of my results and writing them in sentence form on the board so students are exposed aurally and in the written form to the past tense structure of reflexive and pronominal verbs that take the less common auxiliary être in the passé composé.  (Moi, je me suis lavé les mains 5 fois.) 

After this, I will ask students to share how many times they washed their hands, etc.  After modeling the past tense of a couple different reflexive verbs, I will stop giving my answers first and writing them on the board, so as to begin judging students’ production of these verbs (see formative assessment below).

Next, I will ask students to make predictions about how much water they used.  I will show them examples of a liter bottle and a gallon and ask them to identify which is which.  Then I will ask them which one they are more familiar with and which one a European would be more familiar with. I will ask them to predict how many liters or gallons (whichever they prefer) they used in the last 24 hours. 

Once they have their figure, they will be asked to convert their number to the other measurement.  I will ask if any students know the conversion or can find it (it’s in their school issued planner).  I can prompt by asking, 1 gallon fait combien de litres?  I’ll put the two equations on the board.  After students have made their calculations, they will share them. 

I will model a predicting statement and write it on the board: Je pense que j’ai utilisé ____ litres d’eau ou ____ gallons d’eau.  As students share their predictions, I will write their name and their figure on the board.

If available, it would be great for students to enter their names and numbers in a spreadsheet to be able to see the class numbers as a graph and then compare them visually to the numbers they get in the next activity. (Standard 1.1)
During-Reading Task:
I will explain that the article they are about to read will help us learn more about our consumption of water use but will do more than this.  Having students look at the title and the pictures, I will ask them to predict what the article is about and to scan the title and section headings for important words.  I will point out (if a student hasn’t already) that an important word in the title is Comment.  What can we expect in the text (an answer)?  How is the article divided?  Where do we get the answer?  Other questions I might ask include “Who is this article intended for?” and “How do you know?”

We will read the first third of the article aloud (up to La chasse aux gaspillages) “round robin.”  I will make a quick check for comprehension and make sure students understand that the first illustration represents a toilet. Then I will have students evaluate their predictions:  Based on the figures presented, do you think you are close on your predictions of water use?  High or low?  Does anything surprise you? 

I will give students a few minutes to calculate their water usage using the numbers in the article, then I will ask them to share their calculation, asking,  ____ (name) tu pensais que tu as utilisé _____ litres d’eau, mais selon l’article, tu as utilisé combien d’eau?  Each student will share their calculation. (Add these numbers to the spreadsheet in a new column to compare with their predictions.) If there is time, we can discuss who was closest in their prediction (reinforce superlative). (Standards 3.1, 3.2)

For the second part of the article, I will have students read in pairs and ask them to make a list of things in the article they could do today to start conserving water and how much each will conserve, and things the students and their families could do later (using T-chart attached).  As students finish finding suggestions in the article, I will invite them to think of additional ways they could conserve water.

Next we’ll share as a group and I’ll fill in my T-chart on the overhead projector as I solicit students’ answers.  I will then ask which of the items on the list are things they and their classmates could do in school.  Are there other things we could add to the “today” side of the list for the school building?  I will assign students quadrants of the school and have them identify ways in which water is used in that part of the building (locker room, Family and Consumer Sciences student kitchens, etc.) and ways water could be conserved.  For example, Aux toilettes, on peut fermer le robinet quand on se lave les mains.  I will add these to the T-chart as students share answers.

After-Reading Tasks:
We’ll turn our attention to the language used for suggestions in the articles.  I’ll ask students to underline the verbs in the article that seem to be things the author of the article wants us to do or not to do.  I’ll ask what similarities the students see in the forms of many of these verbs.  They will be able to note that there are many verbs ending in –ons and they have no subject and are therefore imperative or command verbs.  I will point out the one verb that seems to be followed by a subject- concentrons-nous.  I will point out that se concentrer is similar to se brosser, se laver, etc. in that it is reflexive.  I will ask students to try to come up with a suggestion involving other reflexive verbs for practice.  I will also ask students to think about the difference between nous and vous or tu imperatives.  What’s the difference between ferme le robinet and fermons le robinet?

Students’ homework will be to come up with a list of two additional suggestions for their classmates and two suggestions they would give to their family to conserve water.  The following day, students will share their suggestions.


As students share their water use in the initial discussion, I will use a checklist to chart students’ use of reflexive verbs.  This will serve as a tool for me as I decide what aspects of reflexive verbs I will need to target with more explicit instruction in the future.


Does not change reflexive pronoun or verb when talking about self

Uses correct reflexive pronoun “me”

Uses verb correctly in the present tense

Uses verb correctly in the past tense


As students share their suggestions for ways we should conserve water, I will be listening to see that they are applying the new vocabulary and using the nous imperative correctly.  This will inform me if more time and attention needs to be devoted to this structure and/or the vocabulary.

References and Resources:



NOTE: some attachments are in PDF form (get Acrobat Reader)

Activités pour conserver l'eau

Comment préserver l'eau à la maison
(document from Le Réseau Eco-consommation: