Watershed Geology
Overview & objectives: Introduce students to the concept of watersheds and teach that everyone lives within a watershed. Teach students how watersheds form, how they function and support the water needs of living organisms.
Introduction - Everybody lives in a watershed. A watershed is determined by the high points of the landscape, and directs rain and snowfall across the landscape. A ridge system defines the boundaries of the watershed. Water flows through and in the ground as runoff and groundwater.

Activity booklet introduction- Watersheds and Wetland Geology Activity booklet introduction
Rotation 1Rotation 2Rotation 3
WHERESmall group room and hallway
Folding tables and use of the floor
Classroom
Student desks are arranged into a long, single table
Classroom
Student desks are arranged into a long, single table
WHO8th grade students, parents and/or classroom teacher8th grade students, parents and/or classroom teacher8th grade students, parents and/or classroom teacher
MATERIALSPart one- What is your Watershed Address?
Map of your city and its watersheds
Map made into a puzzle
Key of map symbols locating all schools in city
Booklet page
Part two-Stream Map/Watershed Analogy
Half sheets of copy paper
Paper straws
Small eye dropper
Blue tempera paint thinned with water
Pencils
Booklet Page
How Thirsty is the Ground?

Tray with a large piece of hard rock
Small spray bottle with water
Vocabulary labels (see image)
Tray with 4 clear plastic cups:
One with soil
One with sand
One with gravel
One with gravel covered by clay
Vocabulary cards (see image)
sponge
½ cup measuring cup
Pitcher of water
Ground Water Atlas of the United States (USGS reference publication)
Watershed Crumple Maps

Sheets of copy paper
Water based markers in:
Brown, blue, orange
Black permanent marker
Green permanent marker
Large trays
Spray bottles with water

One large sample of a crumple map premade and labeled.
ACTIVITIES1. Part one- students are helped to locate their home and school on the city map to determine which watershed they live in and attend school in.
2. Students put the watershed map puzzle together, locate their school, and identify the name of the watershed where it is located.
3. Students record their findings in their corresponding booklet pages.
Part two-
Students label the half sheet of paper with their name on the bottom right.
Students are each given a i/2 dropper of blue paint at the bottom center of the sheet.
Using the straw, the blow the paint so that it branches out like the branches of a tree.
Students fill in the booklet page under Watershed Analogy, as guided by the instructor, matching the parts of the tree to those analogous to the tributaries of a watershed.
Students then label the diagram.

Google Drive
1. Explain what surface water - runoff is. Rain and snow falls as precipitation into a watershed and flows over the land. It finds its way to the low points as it flows down hill into creeks, streams and into rivers, eventually reaching the ocean.
2. Some of the water is absorbed into the ground and becomes groundwater that fills the water table underground where it is stored in aquifers.
3. Permeability is the ability of groundwater to move through soil and rock layers until it hits bedrock.
4. Add ½ cup of water to each of the four cups and observe the permeability of each substance. Students record their observations and answer questions in their booklets.
5. Clay and bedrock are impermeable layers.
6. Water fills in all the empty spaces within sand, gravel and soil the way a sponge can soak up water and hold it.
7. People use the water in aquifers for farming and all household needs including drinking water.

Google Drive
1. Students crumple one sheet of copy paper and then uncrumple it slightly so that it stands looking somewhat like a mountain
2. Using a brown marker, students color the major divide that separates the watersheds.
3. Students color the water drainage blue, making rivers, creeks, streams and lakes.
4. Students label where they think vegetation would most likely grow using green.
5. Students predict the safe places to build homes that would not get flooded by runoff or lakes.
6. Students spray their crumple map with water to watch the blue water flow.
7. Students answer the questions in their booklet
8. Hold a discussion about how water flows in the watershed and if their predictions were correct.

Google Drive
Differentiation: how will you provide support for different learning abilities? For a complete list click here
NGSS Alignment
Full, more detailed outline of standards & progressions → NGSS Progressions
Earth Science
ESS1.A The universe and its stars
ESS1.B Earth and the solar system
ESS1.C The history of planet Earth
ESS2.A Earth materials and systems
ESS2.B Plate tectonics and large-scale system interactions
ESS2.C The roles of water in Earth’s surface processes
ESS2.D Weather and climate
ESS2.E Biogeology
ESS3.A Natural resources
ESS3.B Natural hazards
ESS3.C Human impacts on Earth systems
ESS3.D Global climate change
Notes, Photos & other resources:
Google Drive


Activities – Rotation 1

Activities – Rotation 1

Activities – Rotation 1

Activities – Rotation 1

Activities – Rotation 2

Activities – Rotation 2

Activities – Rotation 3

Activities – Rotation 3