Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Water: Articles and Activities for Middle School Students

Activities: "Streams in the City"

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

For Grades 6 - 8

Streams in the City (Full Article) (PDF) (2 pp, 1.1MB)

Streams in the City (Activity Sheets) (PDF) (15 pp, 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  |  Exercise I  |  Exercise II  |  Exercise III  |  Exercise IV  

Top of page

Jump to main content.