Drip, Drop, Drip, Drop

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In this math lesson, learners design an experiment to model a leaky faucet and determine the amount of water wasted due to the leak. Using the data they gather in a table, learners graph and write an equation for a line of best fit. Learners then use their derived equation to make predictions about the amount of water that would be wasted from one leak over a long period of time or the amount wasted by several leaks during a specific time period. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Timer/stopwatches
  • Pitcher or other container of water
  • Paper cup and thumbtack/paper clip
  • Funnel
  • Graduated cylinder
  • Chart paper and markers


  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
      • Equations and Inequalities
      • Patterns
      • Variables and Expressions
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
      • Rate
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, PBS, 2012

Funding Source:

  • US Department of Education