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Water: Articles and Activities for Middle School Students

Activities: "Whatzzzup-Stream?"

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For Grades 6 - 8

Activities: "Whatzzzup-Stream?" (Full Article) (PDF) (2 pp, 459K)

Activities: "Whatzzzup-Stream?" (Activity Sheets) (PDF) (18 pp, 1MB)

Exercises

Exercise I.   Exploring Where You Live in Your Watershed
Exercise II.  Stream Discharge
Exercise III. Making a Model Watershed
Exercise IV. Map Interpretation of Streams in the Landscape
Exercise V.  Stream Order and the Physical Structure of Streams
Exercise VI. The Riparian Zone and Headwaters Streams

Objectives

In this set of exercises, students will study rivers and waterways around them by using the Internet, maps, and their knowledge of local landscapes. The students will use an EPA Web site to investigate what is upstream and downstream of them. They will also look at graphs of flow in familiar river locations on a live U.S. Geological Survey Web site. Using small rocks and a washbasin, students will build a model that leads to extending their understanding of streams in different geographic locations. A topographic map exercise will expose students to topographic maps and allow them to look for the origins of streams. Finally, a reading exercise will illustrate the issue of the importance of lower-order streams to downstream areas, and students will be asked to implement their ideas to protect a stream on a dairy farm.

Time Required

Individual exercises are designed to be approximately 45 minutes to an hour long. Exercises III and IV require craft materials and maps respectively.

Curricular Standards and Skills

Civics

  • Geography
  • Map reading
  • Contour maps

Language Arts

  • Internet research
  • Descriptive writing

Natural Science

  • Watershed concept
  • Using models
  • Reading charts and graphs
  • Interpreting charts and graphs
  • Water uses
  • Stream order

Vocabulary

  • catalog units
  • drainage basin
  • first-, second-, third-, and fourth-order streams
  • hydrologist
  • major river basin
  • network
  • watershed

Web sites

EPA's "Surf Your Watershed" Web site

National Geographic's "In Your Watershed" page Exit EPA Disclaimer

Exploring the Environment's Water Quality page Exit EPA Disclaimer

Minnesota Shoreland Management Web page Exit EPA Disclaimer

 


Middle Schools  |  Whatzzzup Stream?
Exercise I   |  Exercise II   |  Exercise III   |  Exercise IV   |  Exercise V   |  Exercise VI

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