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Drip, Drop, Drip, Drop

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Drip, Drop, Drip, Drop

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.

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
    • Problem Solving
    • Representation
  • 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


Common Core State Standards for Mathematics:

  • CCSS.Math.Content.6.EE.C.9: Use variables to represent two quantities in a real-world problem that change in relationship to one another; write an equation to express one quantity, thought of as the dependent variable, in terms of the other quantity, thought of as the independent variable. Analyze the relationship between the dependent and independent variables using graphs and tables, and relate these to the equation.(more info about this benchmark)
  • CCSS.Math.Content.8.EE.B.5: Graph proportional relationships, interpreting the unit rate as the slope of the graph. Compare two different proportional relationships represented in different ways.(more info about this benchmark)
  • CCSS.Math.Content.8.F.A.3: Interpret the equation y = mx + b as defining a linear function, whose graph is a straight line; give examples of functions that are not linear.(more info about this benchmark)
  • CCSS.Math.Content.8.F.B.4: Construct a function to model a linear relationship between two quantities. Determine the rate of change and initial value of the function from a description of a relationship or from two (x, y) values, including reading these from a table or from a graph. Interpret the rate of change and initial value of a linear function in terms of the situation it models, and in terms of its graph or a table of values.(more info about this benchmark)

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, PBS, ©2012

Funding Source:

  • US Department of Education


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