Identification of a Watershed
Authored by: Betsy Fitzgerald, Erskine Academy
divider line - brown/gray, with break in the line
Grade Level: K-2, 3-4 (adaptable for 5-8 age group)

The MLR performance indicators listed below are for illustrative purposes. Depending on the focus of the lessons as developed by individual teachers, these indicators may or may not be addressed. Conversely this is not a definitive listing of all of the performance indicators which could be addressed in this lesson.

MLR - Elementary: Social Studies: Pre-K - 2 (Geography GA-1, GB-1), Grades 3-4 (Civics A - 2,3), (Geography GA-1, GB-3); Language Arts: Pre-K -2 (Reading A-7), (Information D - 1), (Writing E-1,3), (Conventions F-2) (Research H -1, 2, 3) Grades 3-4 (Reading A-1,5), (Information D - 1,2,3,4,5,6,7), (Writing E-1,2,4,6), (Conventions F-2), ( Stylistic G-7), (Research H -1, 2, 3,4,5); Science: Pre-K - 2 (Classifying A-1,2), (Ecology B-1,2,3,4,5), (Continuity D-2), (Problem Solving J-2,3), (Reasoning K-3,4,5,6), (Communication L-3,6), (Implications M-4), Grades 3-4 (Classifying A-1,3), (Ecology B-2,3,4), (Problem Solving J-1,2,3), (Reasoning K-3,5), (Communication L-2,3,4,5,7), (Implications M-4); Visual and Performing Arts: Pre-K - 2 (Creative A-1,14), Grades 3-4 (Creative A-1,2,4)

Task Description

Students, after discussion in class, will be able to define and identify the major characteristics of a watershed.

Students should learn some purposes a watershed serves, some of the dangers watersheds face.

Students should learn about some of the cures for watersheds and how they can help the local government protect the watersheds.

Students should learn some of the inhabitants in a watershed and by populating the models could add to the integration of the project into other parts of a curriculum.

Student Products/Performances

Students will enjoy making models of a lake and surrounding land features (a watershed); Students can copy a watershed, perhaps one that was described in class, or design one of their own. Watersheds should have a body of water, a watercourse, and some significant geological features such as hills, rock formations, a man-made feature and a definitive border. Models could be either made using the actual materials or paper mache.


Students will need a flat surface, wax paper, or plastic, aluminum foil, rocks of assorted sizes, quantities of water, flora, fauna, small plantings, and any other items that would make the building of a watershed more realistic. Computer models should be made available for review before the actual construction begins.

Finding specialists to come into the classroom is possible through one of the County Soil and Water Conservation Services, local watershed protection programs, or County Extension Services.

Conservation Technology Information Centers sites:

Getting to Know Your Local Watershed online brochure from the Conservation Technology Information Center.

Watershed Management Shopping List of brochures and guides

Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Watershed Planning and Management

United States Environmental Protection Agency sites:

Surf your Watershed button "This site provides multilevel water resource information. The information can be accessed by state through 'locate your watershed'. The state pages lead to watershed level pages by selecting areas on the maps provided. The site also provides the means to add information, get information, and participate in public discussions. Visit the site to learn more about water conditions where you live." from the EPA site

What is a Watershed?   Why Watersheds? and Surf Your Watershed's Definition of a Watershed.

Adopt Your Watershed

Watershed-related Curricula for Students and Teachers

EPA Kids' Pages

Criteria for Evaluating Quality of Product or Performance

Watersheds which illustrate the major features, major dangers evaded and cures applied would indicate a higher level of understanding. Watershed models with varied color, features and inhabitants would indicate a good level of interest in the project.

Student discussion of the problems facing watersheds and why they need to be protected should demonstrate understanding of the ecological importance of watersheds.