Mapping the Watershed

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SWBAT determine through mapping the area that makes up a watershed.

Big Idea

To understand the impact water has on the surrounding environment students will look at a map and determine the area that is affected by the watershed.

What is a Watershed?

5 minutes

I review with the class what we previously have done and discovered about the watershed. To help them learn about the watershed around us, I print out a basic topographical map of Arizona. We are going to use to plot spots that are elevated around Flagstaff that make up our watershed area. We are also going to confirm that water actually comes from higher ground.

Looking at the Map

5 minutes

We are going to take a watershed map, and topographical map and try to determine the higher points that surround us. Students will then be able to understand where our water is coming from and the area that our watershed covers. We can then also look at the state as a whole and determine how the state is affected by other watersheds.

It is now time for students to work in pairs to figure out where the high points should be placed on their watershed map. They should be able come close to pin pointing the higher areas. The watershed map is colorful and students can almost lay it on top to see how they other map fits with it. 

Paper Run Off Simulation

10 minutes

With all the talk about about water and its run off I think it is time they see the affect pollution can have on our watershed. I hand out a sheet of white paper to each student. I ask them to crunch it up to form a mountain. I model this so that my paper has a high point and has grooves from erosion down its sides.

Next, I tell kids to color some of the lines dark blue that are running down with Crayola markers. Not all of the are dark blue, only the ones they want to be their main stream during run off. Next I tell them to use green for smaller streams and light blue for the smallest ones. 

I give time for students to do this. I then tell the class that they need to place red, purple, and black dots along their mountain. These represent pollution that of various types that have been either carried here in the water, trash, wind, waste, and liter. 

Once they have that, I walk around with a spray bottle and spray their mountains, making it rain. Students quickly see how the rain affects the spread of water and pollution. We have a discussion on what occurred and how accurate that might represent our mountain. 

On a sticky note, I ask students to list three things how they might do at home to help keep this from happening.