“Guess what, Tommy? I just learned that by body is made of a lot of water!” squealed
Dana. Tommy and Dana have been best friends and next door neighbors since they were
“Yeah? How do you know?”, Tommy asked Dana.
“Cindy told me while she was doing her science homework.”, stated Dana.
“I don’t believe her. Let’s go ask Professor Burns. He will know.”, said Tommy. “He
usually knows about things like that.”
“Okay!”, said Dana. “Let’s go now!”
Dana and Tommy rode their bikes through the neighborhood to Professor Burns’ house.
They knocked at his door.
“I hope he isn’t in his lab in the back yet.” said Dana. Just then he opened his front door.
“Good morning friends! How are you today? What brings you here today?”, asked the
“Good morning Professor Burns! We are fine! We came because we want to know if it is
true that our bodies are made of water?”, asked Tommy.
“Good! I see you two are ready to learn! Let’s go to my lab. I can show you better there.”,
said Professor Burns.
Professor Burns, Dana and Tommy walked through the house, out the back door and down
the walk to the lab. They reached the lab and sat around one of Professor Burns’ large,
black, stone rectangular tables.
“The human body is nearly 60 percent water. This is a little over one half water, which
equals to a little more than 11 gallons in an adult! Water is all over your body. Your blood,
muscles and bones are all made of water. That is one of the reasons why your body floats
in water!”, explained Professor Burns.
“Wow!”, said Tommy. “Your sister was right, Dana.”
“She also told me that we have to drink lots of water everyday, or we would run out of
water.”, said Dana.
“Yuck!”, yelled Tommy. “I don’t like water! It tastes nasty!”
“ What your sister said is somewhat true , Dana. The water in our bodies does many
important things. It keeps our bodies cool by perspiring or what you would call sweating.
It takes food and oxygen to areas of your body where it is needed by using your blood. It
removes waste from your body in the forms of urine and feces.”, explained Professor
“Gee Professor, water sure does a lot of things in your body….”, said Tommy,”but I still
don’t like it!”
“Let’s look at how water maintains your temperature. Tommy, are your hands dry? Put on
this rubber glove and keep it on until I tell you to take it off.”, instructed Professor Burns.
“When it is very hot outside, and you have been weeding Mrs. Green’s flowerbeds, you
start to “sweat”. That is one of the ways your body cools off!”, said Professor Burns.
“It’s kind of like you have a fire started and you pour water on the fire to put it out!”, said
“Right!”, said Professor Burns.”Oh by the way. Tommy, you can take that glove off now.
What has happened to your hand?”
“My hand is all wet!”,said Tommy.
“Your body started to cool you hand with water.”, said Dana.
“Very good!”, said Professor Burns.
Professor Burns reached for his long handled mirror. He placed the mirror under his nose
as he spoke. “Another way your body cools itself with water is with water in a different
form called steam. When you exhale, your release small amounts of water from your lungs
in the form of a gas called steam. Let’s look at the mirror now.”
“Gee, it’s all fogged up!”, said Dana.
“Yeah, just like our bathroom mirror when we take a hot shower!”, said Tommy.
Professor Burns explained further. “Another way to cool the body is to drink water. Your
body lets you know it’s time to add water when……?”
“YOU GET THIRSTY!” they all yelled together.
“It takes a lot of work to keep your temperature regulated in hot weather, so that means
that your body has to work harder, burn more fuel, which causes more waste! What do you
think would happen if you don’t help keep that water supply high?”, asked Professor
“You would get really hot and explode?”, asked Dana.
“You would get very sick?”, asked Tommy.
“The lack of water is called dehydration. There are 3 basic stages of dehydration:
I. Mild. The body will have thirst, dry, chapped lips, dizziness and headache.
II. Moderate. The body will have a dry mouth, sunken eyes, skin that doesn’t
bounce back when quickly pinched and released and low urine output.
III. Severe. You can see rapid breathing, cold hands and feet, blue lips, mental
confusion and sleepiness.
Mild dehydration can be self-treated by just drinking water.
Moderate dehydration may require the assistance of your doctor.
Severe dehydration is very serious and requires that you get to a hospital right away for
treatment.”, explained Professor Burns.
“I think I am starting to like water!”, said Tommy.
“How much water is enough for the human body?”, asked Dana.
“When the weather is hot and you are not active, both of you are six years old, so your
body requires at least 45 cups of water per day. That is 360 ounces per day or roughly 3
gallon. The older you get, the more you need, so add one 8 ounce cup per year you grow
older. Adults require about 720 ounces per day or a little more than 5 and one half gallons.
Remember this is based on activity levels and weather.”, stated Professor Burns.
“That sure seems like a lot!”, said Tommy.
“Not if you think about how much water you are losing through sweat, rapid exhalation
while exercising in the heat and urination.”, said Professor Burns.” Some fruits and
vegetables also have a high water content and by eating them, you help maintain your
water levels, but nothing can totally take the place of water.”
“Don’t forget that you can become dehydrated during cold weather too! You just don’t
sweat as much, therefore you don’t notice it, but you still have to keep on drinking water.
Water is still needed to carry fuel and oxygen to the organs of your body even when it is
cold outside.” , reminded Professor Burns.
“Let’s go back to the house for a snack and something to drink.”
“Yeah, like a tall glass of cold water!”, said Tommy.
“Right!”, said Dana.”You are starting to like water, Tommy!”
How Much Water Should My Child Drink – CHOC Children’s