Lesson Plan

Water Cycle, Watersheds, and Wetlands

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Objectives

In this lesson, students will learn how the water cycle relates to watersheds, as well as understand the role of wetlands. Students will:

  • trace the flow of water through the stages in the water cycle and identify the processes in the water cycle. Identify the local watershed on a map and identify its components.
  • analyze the role of wetlands and their importance to watersheds.
  • understand the danger of pollution in our local watersheds.
  • use a model to explain the relationship between watersheds and wetlands.


Essential Questions

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Vocabulary

  • Condensation: The process of water changing from a gas to a liquid.
  • Evaporation: The process of water changing from a liquid to a gas.
  • Infiltration: When water soaks into the ground through the soil and underlying rock layers.
  • Precipitation: The action of clouds becoming so heavy that the tiny droplets of water fall from the sky as rain, hail, sleet, or snow.
  • Silt: A fine deposit of sediment.
  • Surface Runoff: Precipitation that runs over the surface of the land, flowing downhill into streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes.
  • Transpiration: The process by which moisture is carried through plants from roots to small pores on the underside of leaves, where it changes to vapor and is released to the atmosphere.
  • Vapor: Another word referencing water as a gas.
  • Watershed: An area of land that drains all the streams and rainfall to a common outlet such as a reservoir, mouth of a bay, or any point along a stream channel; also called a drainage basin.
  • Wetlands: Transitional areas between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that are saturated with water either permanently or seasonally; may be covered partially or completely by shallow pools of water. Includes marshes, swamps, bogs, meadows, mud flats, and other habitats where land and water meet.


Duration

120 minutes/3 class periods


Prerequisite Skills


Materials


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Related Materials & Resources

The possible inclusion of commercial websites below is not an implied endorsement of their products, which are not free, and are not required for this lesson plan.

  • Project Wet: Worldwide Water Education

www.projectwet.org

  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection: Choose Your Watershed

www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/watermgt/wc/subjects/WSNotebks/shedtable.htm

  • Surf Your Watershed

http://cfpub.epa.gov/surf/locate/index.cfm

  • What Is a Watershed?

http://water.epa.gov/type/watersheds/whatis.cfm

  • The Young Scientist’s Introduction to Wetlands

http://el.erdc.usace.army.mil/wetlands/pdfs/ysw1.pdf

  • Wetlands: The Vital Link

www.fish.state.pa.us/anglerboater/2001/mj2001/vitalink.htm

  • Cross sections of wetlands

http://www.mrsoshouse.com/enviro02/wetalndcrossfig14.gif

  • What Is the Water Cycle?

http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/watercyclesummarytext.html

  • Follow a Drop through the Water Cycle

http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/followadrip.html

  • Map of Pennsylvania Rivers and Lakes

www.nationalatlas.gov/printable/images/pdf/rivers/pagehyd_pa3.pdf

  • Wetland Functions

www.dcnr.state.pa.us/trecpi/pdfs/pre-lessons/Wetland_Functions_Pre.pdf



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