A Closer Look at Our Watershed

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SWBAT define the boundaries of our local watershed and discuss where water from our school site flows.

Big Idea

Water from small watersheds joins with water from nearby watersheds. All water eventually moves to the ocean.

Warm Up

10 minutes

To begin the lesson on our local watershed, I ask students to review their exit ticket from the previous lesson. It is important that students be able to define 'watershed' and have a basic understanding of how watersheds are connected. I ask each student to share with their table group their definition of a watershed. I then ask each table group to work collaboratively to come up with a definition which captures the thinking of each group member. I provide a few minutes for each group to share their definition with the rest of the class. 

Guided Practice

20 minutes

I provide each group with a watershed map that shows our entire county. This watershed map was prepared by our local Water Resource Center and shows several different watersheds. I guide students as they locate the rivers and streams depicted on the map and encourage students to trace the path of each stream.

It is my goal that students can locate their own watershed on a map, can determine why the watershed's boundaries are located where they are, and can discuss how the water in our watershed joins with water from neighboring watershed. To accomplish this, I lead the students in a discussion of the bodies of water present in our watershed. I ask students to explore the places where our watershed joins others and ask them to determine why each boundary is located in that particular spot.  

Independent Practice

20 minutes

After students have reviewed the map our our local watershed, I ask them to create their own watershed map. I ask them to include our school, their home, and other locations important to them in their watershed map. I do this in order to build my student's understanding of our local environment and to strengthen their personal connection to the world around them.

A completed example of a student watershed map and video of a student explaining the map can be found here.


10 minutes

To conclude this lesson, I ask students to display their watershed maps on their desks. I then ask students to engage in a 'gallery walk' where they have the opportunity to move around the classroom and view one another's work. I ask students to reflect on the similarities and differences between their map and those of their peers in their science journals.