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Lesson 2: Exploring Water Usage

Lesson 2: Exploring Water Usage


Students will engage in exploratory data analysis with a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) data set and begin the creation of a water usage Participatory Sensing campaign to observe patterns of water use in their neighborhoods.


  1. Exploring the DWP Data (LMR_4.1_Exploring DWP Data)

  2. Water Campaign (LMR_4.2_Water Campaign)

  3. Poster paper

  4. Markers

  5. Class Created Campaign Information (from Unit 3, Lessons 17-19)

Essential Concepts:

Essential Concepts:

Exploring different datasets can give us insight about the same processes. Information from an official dataset compared with a participatory sensing dataset can yield more information than one dataset alone. Research questions provide an overall direction to make comparisons between datasets.


  1. Display the DWP data using RStudio. In pairs, ask students to recall what each of the variables mean.

  2. Next, ask student teams to refer back to the statistical questions they generated in the previous lesson - they will need it for the data exploration.

  3. Distribute the Exploring the DWP Data handout (LMR_4.1). In their teams, allow students about 20-30 minutes to explore the DWP data set and complete the handout.

  4. After students have had time to explore the DWP data, conduct a whole class discussion based on the following (answers will vary based on student teams’ data exploration):

    `1. What were some interesting findings?

    `2. Which number statistics provided you information to help answer the research question?

    `3. Which plots gave you some insights into Los Angeles’ water usage?

    `4. Based on your findings and by citing evidence from your analysis, what would you say about how water is being used in Los Angeles and who is using it?

  5. To prepare for the creation of the Participatory Sensing campaign, ask students to discuss the following in their teams:

    1. How do you think water usage has changed since 2010?

    2. What sectors do you think have changed the most?

  6. Now that students have an idea about water usage in Los Angeles based on the DWP 2010 data exploration, inform them that they will create a water usage campaign. The research question fro this campaign is:

    How can we save water in our neighborhood?

  7. Quickly review their class campaign from Unit 3; placing emphasis on the trigger and at how the data they decided to collect answers the research question.

  8. Distribute the Water Campaign handout (LMR_4.2). Ask students to notice that Rounds 1 and 2 are completed. Their task is to design the rest of the campaign by completing the remaining rounds.

  9. Round 3: Allow student teams a reasonable amount of time to engage in a Brainstorm, in which they will discuss what kind of data needs to be collected in order to answer this research question and when is the best time to trigger the data collection/completion of the survey. Before they begin, ask students to keep the following question in mind: Which of these data will give us information that addresses our research question?

  10. Facilitate the student teams’ Brainstorm session by circulating around the room to check for understanding. If teams need help with deciding which data they should collect, you may ask them to ponder the following:

    1. What are some water sources?

    2. What do we use water for?

    3. Where might we see water as we walk around our neighborhoods?

    4. What would you consider wasted water?

    5. What are some uses of water that cannot be avoided?

  11. Ask students to record the information from each round on poster paper - in this lesson, Rounds 1-3.

  12. Inform students that they will be completing Rounds 4 and 5 during the next lesson.

Class Scribes:

One team of students will give a brief talk to discuss what they think the 3 most important topics of the day were.