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Water: Middle School

Activities: "Streams in the City"

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For Grades 6 - 8

Streams in the City (Full Article)(PDF) (2 pp, 197K)

Streams in the City (Activity Sheets)(PDF) (15 pp, 4.3MB)


Exercise I. How Does Rain Become Runoff?

Exercise II. From Rainfall to Runoff: Making the Connection

Exercise III. Calculating Runoff from a Rainstorm

Exercise IV. Designing a Better Neighborhood


These exercises are designed to guide a student to an understanding of how rainfall and storm events result in runoff over the surface of the earth. Runoff is influenced by the nature of the surface of the earth. Streamflow is particularly influenced by urbanization-the paving over of permeable surfaces with impermeable ones. In light of this, students are encouraged to think about design elements that incorporate more permeable surfaces into their own environments, including their school parking lots and neighborhoods.

Time Required:

Individual exercises are designed to be approximately 45 minutes to an hour long. These exercises are also ordered progressively: each builds on concepts introduced in the previous.

Curricular Standards and Skills:

Natural Science:
  • water cycle
  • accuracy
  • cause and effect
  • volume calculations
Social Studies:
  • differences in urban and rural areas
  • challenges of urbanization






  • evaporation
  • impervious
  • infiltration
  • interception
  • permeable
  • puddling
  • runoff
  • sediment
  • topography
  • transpiration
  • urbanization






Web sites:




Middle Schools  |  Streams in the City  |  Exercises: I  |  II  |  III  |  IV  | 

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