Water Quality Lesson 5


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Lesson 5 overview for the Investigate the State Water Quality unit.

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  • This lesson is used to give students a better understanding of how their river’s watershed fits into the bigger picture of water flow within our state, through the Great Lakes, and into the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Students map their local watershed and use a variety of maps to trace the movement of water within their watershed, through the major watersheds of Michigan, and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean.
  • It is important to reflect on recent learning and then tie it to the Driving Question. This allows students to remain focused on the bigger picture while integrating what they have just learned with the increasing knowledge they have gained since beginning the unit.
    The connection between topographic maps and the elevation of places within watersheds in Michigan helps students make sense of the flow of water and the interconnectedness of the waterways of our state, nation, and the world.
  • After learning about the effect of elevation on water flow, students should be able to predict water flow within the watersheds of Michigan based on the use and understanding of a topographic map.

    In addition, this understanding should allow them to describe how and why the waters of Michigan flow to the Atlantic Ocean, and the relative elevation of each of the great lakes as a part of this process.
  • This is an optional activity that could serve the needs of a variety of student learning modalities.
  • See the investigatethestate.org website for copies of these Michigan maps.
  • Students demonstrate these proficiencies based on the work they have done in this, and previous, lessons.
  • Water Quality Lesson 5

    1. 1. Investigate the State What is the Water Like in Our River? Lesson 5 Where is Our River on the Map?
    2. 2. Learning Set 2 - Lesson 5 Where is Our River Located? Focus of the Day: Analyzing Maps Students work with watershed and topographic maps to determine the flow of water from Michigan watersheds into the Great Lakes and from the Great Lakes into the Atlantic Ocean.
    3. 3. Learning Objectives and Purpose • Using relief maps, students will discuss and explain how water flows through watersheds.
    4. 4. Overview of Activities • Review the Key Ideas from the Models • Discuss the relationship between the watershed model and what it represented. • Help students make connections between watersheds and the Driving Question. • Discussion of Michigan Watersheds and Respective Elevations • Comparison of Michigan watersheds and topographic map. • Reasoning for flow of all Great Lakes to the Atlantic.
    5. 5. Student Actions • Students use watershed and topographic maps to predict the flow of water from several watersheds to the Great Lakes and give reasons for their predictions. • A United States map is used to trace the path of water flow from students’ local river to the Atlantic. • Discuss and reason through the relative elevation of each of the Great Lakes.
    6. 6. Student Actions (cont.) • (An optional extension activity: Creation of a model of Michigan’s topography and watersheds using a color copy of the Michigan topographic map. This would be based on the model format from lesson 1 or clay. Students would plan, build and test their model followed by a discussion of the connection between this model and a colored topographic map.)
    7. 7. Teacher Considerations • Students will need copies of the Major Watersheds of Michigan map and the Topographic map of Michigan. • Overhead transparencies of these maps are needed if no document camera is available. • A large United States physical map is also needed for this lesson.
    8. 8. Lesson 5 Assessment • Students, with the use of maps, and journals or worksheets, are able to demonstrate their knowledge of the flow of water in Michigan, the Great Lakes and out to the Atlantic Ocean. • Students are able to describe the effect of elevation on water movement. • (If the extension activity is utilized, students will demonstrate their understanding of topography and water flow by translating a color topographic map to a physical model.)
    9. 9. Preparation for Next Lesson: Exploring Stream Tables • The next lesson deals with the exploration of stream tables. • Read through the needed materials for and the set- up of the stream tables. • Watch the Stream Table video and practice set-up and use of the model • Read through lesson six in the teacher materials and copy the three student worksheets: Exploring Stream Tables/Introduction; Observation; and Comparison.
    10. 10. For More Information • Review the curriculum guide: “What is the Water Like in Our River?” • Visit our web site: http://www.investigatethestate.org