Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications

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June 8, 2023
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Written on . Posted in Math Modeling.

Math Modeling Real-World Topics: Water Conservation

In this blog series, we're highlighting math modeling modules and articles that explore real-world issues that affect everyone. 

Topic Summary

Today, we're talking about water conservation. Historically, water has been taken for granted, especially in humid areas like the southeastern United States, making it one of the top real-world issues around sustainability. 

At the heart of sustainability is the need to ensure the long-term persistence and vitality of both humans and the natural environment. Sustainability focuses on interactions between nature and society. These interactions are complex and do not abide disciplinary boundaries. They require understanding of physical and biological processes that are overlaid by human social, political, and economic concerns.

About the Module

This water conversation module uses math concepts of estimation and dimensional analysis to understand the discharge rate of water and total volume of runoff. Using geometry concepts of volume and area, students will explore what it really means to get one inch of rain and how it differs across various terrains. Students will calculate runoff and determine where the water goes and the effects it has on the environment.

water conservation math model

Examples of diagrams in this math module.

Students will explore the reasonableness of their answers and begin to connect their assumptions with the accuracy of their conclusion. Students will understand runoff: how to calculate runoff, determine the effects of runoff, and investigate ways to mitigate runoff.

How to Access the Module

This math modeling module is available with a free membership on the COMAP website. Sign up here to get access. Then, download the module here. Get the free module here.

Here are some other real-world math modeling modules we’ve featured lately:

Want more free modules? Check out this list of 10 interesting math modules.

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COMAP, Inc.

The Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications is an award-winning non-profit organization whose mission is to improve mathematics education for students of all ages. Since 1980, COMAP has worked with teachers, students, and business people to create learning environments where mathematics is used to investigate and model real issues in our world.


COMAP, Inc.

COMAP develops curriculum resources, professional development programs, and contest opportunities that are multidisciplinary, academically rigorous, and fun for educators and students. COMAP's educational philosophy is centered around mathematical modeling: using mathematical tools to explore real-world problems.


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