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Animation Guide for Educators

Dig Deeper

Buddhism Series

Episode 4 :
Life of Water

Recognizing that faith leaders have been a driving force behind some of the most important and successful environmental movements, WWF-Malaysia partnered with Soka Gakkai Malaysia to produce an animation series called When We’re Friends (WWF) with Nature. Inspired by the teachings of Buddhism, the faith based animation series carries the message of, ‘It starts with one’ and uses the ‘Learn, Reflect, Empower’ approach which is aligned to WWF-Malaysia’s Education for Sustainable Development’s objective.

Think & put your brain to work!

Dig Deeper

Think Before We Act

We need to think before we act as what goes around comes around. We cannot undo the past, but we can decide what we want in the future now. To have clean water supply continuously, we must always avoid unnecessary water wastage. For instance, we should not wash our vehicle during rainy days and only wash full loads of clothes or dishes.

You Reap What You Sow

We do not receive additional water input from the outer space. All water in planet Earth is ‘recycled’ through the hydrologic cycle. If we pollute the water, it will always come back to us in polluted forms.

Water Cycle

The water cycle, also known as the hydrological cycle or hydrologic cycle, describes the process of how water evaporates from the Earth's surface and rises into the atmosphere, condenses into rain or snow in clouds, and lastly falls again to the Earth's surface as precipitation. The water that falls on land will end up in rivers, streams or lakes and eventually flows into the oceans. The process then repeats. The cycling of water in and out of the atmosphere also influences the weather patterns on Earth.


The water cycle is essential to all living organisms on Earth because all of us would not survive without water. Plants would not grow and produce their food without precipitation. Surface runoff contributes to rivers, other freshwater bodies and also the ocean to sustain freshwater and marine life. Hence, if we disrupt the water cycle, especially by pollution or human activities, we will affect all living organisms, including humans.


External Link: The Water Cycle

Water Pollution

Water pollution is the pollution where toxic substances flow into the water bodies like rivers, streams, lakes, oceans and dissolve in the water bodies. It degrades the water quality of the water bodies and affects the aquatic ecosystems. Humans might get affected as the contaminated water will eventually flow into the households and cause many consequences like water-borne diseases.


Water pollution caused by disposing of wastewater from the factories, households and agricultural lands. Dumping of solid wastes and litters in the water bodies, leaking of oil into the water bodies and eutrophication are the causes of water pollution as well. We couldn't control the industrial waste and oil leaking into the water bodies, but there's one thing we can do to help our rivers, we should stop dumping our rubbish into the rivers or oceans. We should protect our rivers instead of polluting them.


External Link:

Marine Ecosystem and Freshwater Ecosystem

The marine ecosystem is the complex of living organisms in the ocean environment, while freshwater ecosystem is the complex of living organisms in the river or lake environment. The examples of marine ecosystem are salt marshes, intertidal zones, estuaries, lagoons, mangroves, coral reefs, deep sea, and seafloor. For freshwater ecosystems, the examples are lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, springs, and wetlands.


Both of these ecosystems are different in salinity and density. The salt content of the marine ecosystem is higher than the freshwater ecosystem. Both of them are facing pollution issues although they are different. They cover three-quarters of the Earth’s surface and provide ecosystem services by involving in biogeochemical cycles and nutrient exchange. They provide protection and habitat for the aquatic organisms, degrade and disperse environmental pollutants as well. Hence, both of these ecosystems are very important to all the living organisms. We should try our best to protect them instead of disposing our waste into the rivers and oceans.

External Link: Aquatic Ecosystems

Prompt your audiences


  1. Why do we need to protect our river from pollution?

  2. Why do we need to close the tap when we brush our teeth?

  3. Why do we need to boil the water before drinking?z



  1. How can we protect our rivers from pollution?

  2. How long can a human survive without water?

  3. Will we get affected by water pollution? If yes, how?



  1. What is the difference between mineral water and tap water?

  2. What is wastewater?

  3. What can we do in our daily lives to keep our rivers clean and safe?

Activities you may want to try


Discussion 1


Hydrologic cycle


To increase students' knowledge about water cycle.


Use a diagram of the water cycle without any name of the processes and let the students fill in.

Materials Needed:

Diagram of water cycle

Expected Outcomes: 

Students will be able to learn about the processes in water cycle.


Discussion 2


We Are Water Users


To raise awareness about ways to save water and the importance of using water wisely in our daily lives.


Divide 4-5 students in a group and ask them to discuss and present how to use water wisely in their daily lives.

Materials Needed:

Mahjong paper, marker pens

Expected Outcomes: 

Students will be able to write and voice out their thoughts.


Games 2


Rules of Rivers


To raise awareness about the importance of protecting our rivers.


First, prepare a list of action statements related to rivers. Then, read out these statements and have the students raise their hands as answers (left: harmful actions; right: good actions). Eliminate the students that give incorrect answers. The game repeats until there is only one student left. The last student remaining wins the game.

Materials Needed:

Action statements related to rivers

Expected Outcomes: 

Students will be able to differentiate what actions that harm the rivers and benefit the rivers.

Working Group.PNG

Work Group 1


Water Pollution Demonstration


To increase knowledge of the students about how pollution spread through water.


Divide 8-10 students in a group and ask them to demonstrate water pollution based on the instructions and explain the consequences of water pollution.

1. Fold up a few paper towels and set them on the tray with the egg carton on top.
2. Begin with pouring water into one of the cups at one end of the egg carton and watch as the water flows from cup to cup. Stop pouring once each egg cup is full.
3. Then, add 1 teaspoon of flax meal (ground flax seeds) into one of the egg cups at one end of the egg carton. Watch as the water carries it from cup to cup.
4. Next, add about ten drops of food coloring into the egg cup at the opposite end of the egg carton. Slightly stir the egg cup with the food coloring and watch as it slowly flows into the cups around it.
5. Leave your experiment out for an hour or two, and you should start to notice the water (and food coloring!) seeping out of the bottom of the egg carton and saturating the paper towels under the egg carton.

In this experiment, the egg carton represents the connection between the water bodies. By adding “pollution” (the flax meal and food coloring) into one of the egg cups, it illustrates how easily pollution, like trash, waste, and chemicals, are carried from one place to another. After a while, the water and pollution (food coloring) started to seep out through the bottom of the egg carton and saturated the paper towels. It shows that how pollution in the water bodies can travel further into the ground, which pollutes the groundwater and nearby streams or lakes. When the groundwater becomes polluted, it could harm plants whose roots soak up the groundwater. Hence, we should remember not to litter no matter where we are, especially when we are nearby the water bodies, such as the beach or the lakes.

Materials Needed:

Empty cardboard, egg carton, water, food coloring, flax seeds or other powdery substance, paper towels

Expected Outcomes: 

Students will be able to understand how pollution happens and its consequences.

External Link: Water Pollution Demonstration

Working Group.PNG

Work Group 2


Can You Undo Water Pollution?


To raise awareness about the consequences of water pollution and it's impossible to undo what we've done.


Divide 8-10 students in a group. Ask them to collect rainwater a few days before the activity starts. On the day, ask them to add some trash into a bucket of clean water. When the water becomes dirty, ask them to remove all the pollutions using tongs and a strainer. Then, ask them to observe the water again and conclude that it is difficult to remove all the pollutants from the water once we've polluted it.

Materials Needed:

A bucket of rainwater, some household trash, vegetable oil (to stand for toxic oil spills), tongs, and a strainer.

Expected Outcomes: 

Students will be able to understand that it is impossible to undo water pollution.

External Link: Can You Undo Water Pollution?


Please start your discussion related to the animation series at the comments below. Do share with us your ideas or suggestions to make the teaching experience even better & for all to try it!

Try our other episodes!

Episode 3:

Life of Monkey

Episode 5:

Life of Mother

Episode 6:

Life of Bottle

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