How can we grow more crop per drop? In this video, we'll learn about the technology that some farms are using to reduce the amount of water it takes to grow food. 

About This Video

Grade level: 6-10
Length: 2 minutes
​NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: MS-ESS3.A, MS-ESS3.C, MS-ETS1.A

In this video, we'll dive into some of the innovative techniques farmers are using to increase their crop per drop. Below are discussion questions you can use in the classroom in conjunction with this video to engage your students in learning more about water-wise farms.

Video Discussion Questions

  1. What impacts do droughts have on people, ecosystems, and the environment?
  2. Why might we want to help farmers find ways to use water more efficiently?
  3. What's the problem with conventional sprinklers?  Are they efficient?
  4. What is drip irrigation?  Does it have advantages over conventional sprinklers?
  5. What other strategies are farmers using to increase their 'crop per drop'?

Science Texts for Students

Use this resource to ground your understanding before integrating this video into your lesson. Alternatively, allow your students to practice close reading of scientific texts by passing out the article and the empty version of the chart—let them do the work!

Because the issues we're exploring in Flipside Science are complex, we've evaluated how the solution fares across three important dimensions: the environment, the economy, and society.

Accompanying Activity: Sustainable Water Solutions

Weighing the pros and cons

Weighing the Pros and Cons
How do we assess the benefits and drawbacks of various solutions to a problem? To decide how one potential solution compares to another, we have to consider the pros and cons of each from many dimensions: environmental, social, cultural, and economic. In this activity, students will work together to map out the strengths and limitations of potential solutions to some important water use and conservation issues.

Connections to the Next Generation Science Standards

While this video doesn't necessarily cover the following standards in depth, it is a compelling resource you can use to supplement your curriculum that does.

Disciplinary Core Ideas (Grades 6-8):

  • MS-ESS3.A: Natural Resources
  • MS-ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth System
    MS-ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems

Crosscutting Concepts (Grades 6-8):

  • Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World

Test Your Farming Skills with this Free Environmental Simulation

cornucopia game

While playing Cornucopia—a fast-paced farm simulator—you manage a plot of land, planting crops based on a number of factors, in order to meet a variety of food orders. Keep an eye on your water meter and your crop yields, and earn technology upgrades to make your farm as successful as possible before the season ends.

Fresh Solutions: About This Unit

Humans depend on water, and our need for this precious resource is growing alongside our population. How will we meet the needs of the future without harming the environment? We'll explore the environmental issues related to our water use and how simple choices we make impact our planet.This unit introduces students to the process of design thinking, and culminates in a design thinking challenge related to water conservation issues.


Drought Hurting Animals, Plants
Humans aren’t the only creatures affected by the prolonged drought we’re enduring in California. Read more in this article.

NPR.org: Why California Farmers Are Conflicted About Using Less Water
This article and radio short describe how the decision to invest in water-saving measures is more complex than you might imagine.

Wired: A Smart Sensor to Help Farmers Save Water in a Drought
A California-based company has developed sensors to put in fields and a mobile app that farmers can use to monitor water needs. Your students may appreciate the mobile aspect of this approach!

Sustaining California Agriculture in an Uncertain Future
This report describes how farmers and irrigation districts have already been making water-use efficiency improvements. Check out the short video of a local farmer being interviewed.

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