Walking for Water Lesson 1

In this lesson students consider the health benefits of walking before considering their own journeys and why many of these are made by car or public transport.

  • Global challenge
  • computing
Print lesson
  • Ages 9+
  • 60 mins
  • MakeCode Editor

Curriculum links

  • Computing: Computational thinking: logical reasoning
  • Science: The heart
  • P.E.: The importance of regular exercise
  • PSHE: Healthy mind and body
  • Design and Technology: Product design
  • Maths: estimating, calculating distance and time
  • Geography: desert, sub-saharan Africa

Skills: Empathy, problem solving, team working


It is assumed that you have first completed the Non-communicable disease introductory lesson.


In this lesson students consider the health benefits of walking before considering their own journeys and why many of these are made by car or public transport. They then learn about Aysha, an Ethiopian girl who walks for 8 hours a day to fetch water for her family. Students consider the impact this has on her life and are introduced to the challenge of creating a step tracker to replicate Aysha’s daily walk.

Teacher Guide

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Changes in walking habits

  • Explain that in many Westernised countries, walking has become less of our daily lifestyle. Lead a discussion around why this is (slide 6).
  • Give out a worksheet to pairs or small groups and ask them to record the journeys they have made in the last few days (an example is given).
  • Discuss as a class and highlight that cars and public transport are used for travelling longer distances, to save us time and make it more convenient to travel somewhere. When did they walk and why?
  • Lead the discussion so students understand that cars and transport benefit us greatly in many ways, and can save us valuable time, however they also reduce the amount of walking we do. A balance is key
  • Highlight how walking used to be a far greater part of our lives in the past (e.g. walking to find food / water or fairly long distances to get to school) and that while in Westernised nations we are trying to encourage children to walk more, in some countries this is still the case and it would be better for children to walk less. Encourage students to share any examples of which they are already aware.

Walking for water

  • Show Ethiopia on a map (slide 8) and ask children to share what they already know about the country. Explain you will be looking at life for one girl called Aysha who lives there, who has a very different lifestyle to their own.
  • Show the video of Aysha (slide 9) and ask pairs or small groups to answer the questions on slide 10 to consider how they think having to walk for 8 hours a day for water impacts on Aysha’s life.
  • Use the ensuing class discussion to draw out that this is called the ‘Water Burden’ (slide 11) and it often falls to women and girls. Aysha will be missing out on education and time to play, which will impact on her current and future happiness and life chances. Explain that the water she is collecting may not be safe and may be contaminated, making it more likely she will contract diseases.

Walking challenge

  • Set pairs/groups the challenge of calculating roughly how far Aysha walks every day and the number of steps she does (slide 12).
  • Introduce the challenge to students; they are going to walk as many steps as Aysha does in one day over 4 days (or adjust the time allowed as appropriate - slide 13).
  • Explain that they will create their own step-counter to track their steps using micro:bit. (If you do not have physical boards, students can simply use the MakeCode editor then use another pedometer or a phone to track their steps) and you will begin next lesson.

Lesson wrap up

  • Ask students to think/pair/share what they have learnt today around the impact of having to walk for water on children like Aysha and the contrast with their own lives.
  • Revisit the learning objectives if you wish on slide 14.

Extension / homework

  • Students could walk 1km and count their steps to estimate how long the walk will take.
  • Students could keep a water diary for a few days to increase their awareness around how much water they use and write a report about how they would change this if they had to collect water like Aysha.



  • Students may need additional assistance with maths calculations, and adjustments can be made to the calculation(s) as helpful. They could also be given sentence prompts to help answer the questions on Aysha.

Stretch & challenge:

Students could perform additional calculations (ie estimate on a map how far 8 hours walking will get them) and could further research issues around water in Ethiopia to gain a deeper understanding of the context (e.g. https://water.org/our-impact/ethiopia/)

Opportunities for assessment:

  • Informal assessment of students’ ability to evaluate their ideas through questioning.
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