Water-Earth Dynamics, Challenge 2:
Know Your Watershed
Research and Revise
Now that you have shared information about what you know about watersheds and viewed multiple perspectives on the topic, it is time for you to research and revise your ideas using the Web. Visit the Web sites listed in “Multiple Perspectives” and “Research and Revise” to help you with the vocabulary, to acquire the knowledge you will need to advance your understanding about watersheds, and to carry out activities designed to help you focus on the important dimensions of the challenge.
||Pollution (point-source pollution and nonpoint-source pollution)
Most regions in the United States experience drought, including Texas. The Drought Module found at EarthLabs for Educators contains two activities that are relevant to this challenge on watersheds. The first you will do in the classroom/lab; the second your teacher may assign as homework.
- In Lab 2, What's a Watershed? You will work in a team to build simple physical models of a watershed, then add model rain to observe and understand the flow of water across land. After working with the physical model, you will use Google Earth to explore a rich data set that characterizes the watershed in which you live. For this lab, you will need a pan, a plastic sheet, a spray bottle, and a computer with Google Earth installed.
- Lab 3, Normal Climate Patterns allows you to explore your location's climate by generating a variety of graphs, charts, and map images. The activity gives you practice in interpreting a broad range of data visualizations to develop an understanding of normal climate. For this activity, you will need a computer with a Web browser.
- Create a Google Earth fly-through tour of your watershed (KMZ file). Each stop on the tour should be marked with an icon, and must contain a photo and short description.
- Floodplains in the Field is a field exercise developed by Mary Savina in Starting Point — Teaching Entry Level Geoscience. In this lab you will measure a topographic and geologic cross section across a floodplain by simple surveying and augering techniques.
Interactive Mapping Tools/Data
- The Texas Water Development Board’s Water Information Integration and Dissemination system (WIID) is an interactive mapping tool that allows users to zoom in on areas throughout Texas and view layers including aquifers, rivers and river basins, reservoirs, U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps, and the locations of wells that are used to monitor groundwater conditions. Information about individual reservoirs and monitoring wells can be accessed through the maps.
- The U.S. Geological Survey National Water Information System Mapper has the locations of surface water, groundwater, springs, and weather monitoring sites on a Google-based mapping system. Zoom in on a location and you can link straight to the data from any site.
- EnviroMapper for Water is a Web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) application that dynamically displays water quality and other environmental information about bodies of water in the United States. This interactive tool allows you to create customized maps that portray the nation's surface waters along with a collection of water-quality-related data from the national level down to the community level.