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Rivers - Above and Below Project


Procedures for Participation

Teacher Preparation

  1. Study the river basins and watersheds of the six southeastern states. Use these websites.
  2. Review the type of weather information available at: http://enso.unl.edu/monitor/monitor.html http://www.srh.noaa.gov/atr/hmd/default.html

  3. Explore the web pages sponsored by selected southeastern states that offer activities on water, watersheds, and rivers at:

Classroom Activity

  1. Introduce the vocabulary (see below).

  2. Select one of the six southeastern states to study its watersheds and river basins. You may also assign different states to different teams of students to study. It is your choice whether the activities below are done as whole group or assigned to individual groups. However, the end result is to be one poster for the class to submit.

  3. Using the web sites above and other available resources, have the students color code on a map of the selected state(s) the river basins in that state. (If you need an outline map of the state(s), go to http://www.50states.com/maps/. With a black pen or marker, have them identify the various watersheds within each river basin. (For example, they might outline the watershed in solid black and then lightly crosshatch the interior of the area.) Use the resources you have and those at http://www.epa.gov/surf2. Click on Locate Your Watershed then enter the name of a river in that state in the search window under Find Place. Be careful to note the correct state for those rivers with very common names. Another source of information on watersheds is http://map2.epa.gov/enviromapper/.

  4. On the state map, have the students designate for each river basin whether that river sends its water eventually into the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico.

  5. Introduce the information on drought conditions in the United States by having students chart the drought conditions for their river basins for the past 6 months. This month is available at the Archive link on the U.S. Drought Monitor at http://enso.unl.edu/monitor/monitor.html. Using the information from the U.S. Drought Monitor site and from http://www.srh.noaa.gov/atr/hmd/default.html and http://www.srh.noaa.gov/atr/ahps/default.html, have the student(s) determine the overall six-month drought code for each river basin. Then, have them code the river basins on their state map(s) using the D0 to D4 letter coding.

  6. From the information on the http://www.epa.gov/surf2 website, have the student(s) indicate on their state map(s) the number of metropolitan areas served by all the watersheds in each of the river basins.

  7. Using the information on aquifers and sinkholes provided in this project and from any other available resources, have the students determine if a sinkhole exists within their river basin(s) and mark this on their map(s). Have them mark the number of aquifers for the river basin(s) using the information on http://www.epa.gov/surf2.

  8. The final research activity is for students to determine how endangered their rivers are. Have students study the information on http://www.americanrivers.org/mostendangered2001/default.htm by comparing and contrasting the lists from 1996-2001 for the Ten Most Endangered Rivers. Ask them to further surf the site to determine if any of the southeastern rivers were on the Twenty Most Threatened Rivers in the earlier reports and whether they moved to the Most Endangered Rivers list or not in the more recent years. Using the information on the site and any other available resources on the level of endangerment of the rivers in their state(s), have students develop a legend to indicate the degree of environmental trouble the river is experiencing. Within the same website at http://www.americanrivers.org/groups/default.htm have the students determine if there are any advocacy groups for their river(s) and what the groups are doing to "save the river."

  9. After reviewing the state map(s), have the class decide on one river basin to use as the focus of an environmental poster. The poster must include information on and a message about at least four of the following items:

    1. Watersheds
    2. Drought conditions
    3. Most significant threat (development, sewage overflows, etc.)
    4. Number of metropolitan areas depending on the river as a primary source of drinking water
    5. Number of aquifers in the river basin/large watershed
    6. Number/name of advocacy groups for the river
    7. Existence of sinkholes

    The message can be told via pictures or by words. The poster can be computer-produced, hand-drawn and then scanned or photographed, or some combination. It is to be submitted as a jpeg file and should have the name of the school, teacher, grade/class, town, state associated with the file.

Vocabulary Listing: (Terms are defined using websites noted in this project and from http://wwwga.usgs.gov/edu/dictionary.html)

  1. River basin - area drained by a river and its tributaries. Contains many small watersheds. Also called large watershed, drainage basin or catchment.

  2. Watershed - area of land that drains into a particular lake, river, stream or wetland. Also called a drainage basin. A large watershed made up of many small watersheds can be a river basin.

  3. Sinkhole - a collapsed underground space caused when bedrock erodes and dissolves from acidic water. (See http://wwwga.usgs.gov/edu/earthgwsinkholes.html )

  4. Aquifer - underground layer of sponge-like rock that holds water. Underground source of water. (See http://wwwga.usgs.gov/edu/earthgwaquifer.html)

  5. Ground water - part of precipitation that seeps through the soil until it reaches rock material that is saturated with water already. (See http://wwwga.usgs.gov/edu/earthgw.html and http://wwwga.usgs.gov/edu/earthgwdecline.html)

Additional Activities and Resources:

  1. Additional Resources and classroom activities:

    1. http://www.epa.gov/adopt/education.html
    2. http://www.epa.gov/OGWDW/kids/exper.html (Some of the "Build…" activities below are from this site.)
    3. Quizzes on water: http://www.epa.gov/adopt/patch/dosdonts.html
    4. http://www.epa.gov/OGWDW/kids/games.html
    5. Grade 3 river basins activity http://www.richlandclicks.org/Teacher/connections/grade3/mapping_landforms.htm
    6. Fifteen Things You Can Do to Make a Difference in Your Watershed http://www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/earthday/earthday.html

  2. Build your own watershed:

    1. http://www.epa.gov/OGWDW/kids/buildown.pdf
    2. http://www.watershedkit.com

  3. Build your own aquifer:

    1. http://www.epa.gov/adopt/patch/aquifer.html
    2. http://www.epa.gov/OGWDW/kids/cup.pdf
    3. http://www.epa.gov/OGWDW/kids/aquifer.pdf

  4. Build your own sinkholehttp: http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/watershed/pdf/tabloid.pdf

How To Register

To register, send an e-mail to the Project Coordinator, Kevin Oliver, at . Please include the following information in you e-mail.

  • Teacher name
  • School name
  • School address
  • Grade level of participating class
  • E-mail address (preferably the teachers)
  • URL of your school's website (if applicable)
  • Geographical setting of your school (urban, rural, or suburban)



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