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Mapping a Watershed (9-12 Science)

Locate a local stream or river on a map, making sure that your map includes the entire watershed. Select a spot on the map as far downstream as possible for your starting point. Next, locate the upstream ends of all channels that flow into your river above that point. Trace the section of your watershed onto paper (lor draw directly on the map), drawing all of the branches or tributaries of your stream or river. Draw the other significant natural features, and major land uses (industry, agriculture, residential neighborhoods). Discuss some of the following questions with the class: Where does the water in your watershed come from? Are the streams and rivers in the watershed present year round? What are some of the major land uses? How do these uses effect the river?

— from Investigating Streams and Rivers (GREEN)

Stepping Into Others’ Shoes (9-12 Science)

Present two sides of a current environmental issue to the class. Have the students write one letter stating their personal opinions about the issue and why they feel that way. Then have them write a second letter from another perspective. Discuss what students learned and insights that were gained.

— GREEN Cross Cultural Partners Activity Manual

Piecing Together Your Watershed (9-12 Science)

Laminate a copy of your watershed map, then cut into jigsaw puzzle-like pieces The number of pieces will be determined by the number of student learning groups formed by students working in groups of two or three. Give each group of students one piece of the map puzzle and a large piece of butcher paper with colored pencils and markers. Have the students reproduce/enlarge their section of the basin map (each 6″ of the puzzle should be enlarged to 1′ on the butcher paper). Have the students include all features (roads, towns, tributaries, railroads, etc.) Have each student present their enlargement to the entire class, describing its location and features. Have the other students try and locate the section being talked about on the basin map. Challenge them to identify it by using the map’s marginal coordinates.

Using tape, assemble the new large scale map. Have students create a key for their map featuring symbols and scale. Hang it on a wall in the school with a project banner hanging over the map to identify the class that worked on the project.

— Activity from “The Living River: An Educator’s Guide to the Nisqually River Basin.”

Regulatory Agencies (9-12 Social Studies)

The students should in groups choose a regulatory agency to investigate. Through library research, determine the laws, standards, enforcement, and penalties for which water resource agencies are responsible. Obtain the address and phone number of a regulatory agency’s nearest office and the name of someone to contact concerning its water resources work.

Have the students take the role of the lawmakers and write five regulations to protect water quality or public health and safety associated with water resources. Have the group discuss some of the following questions: What are the names and responsibilities of the international, national, regional and local agencies with primary resource responsibilities? Why are regulations necessary? What measures other than regulations may be used to maintain the health and safety of water resources? What are some difficulties encountered by water resources staff in creating and enforcing regulations?

Have the students make an appointment with agency staff members to present questions or observations. Invite the agency representative to come to the class to address the questions.

— Adapted from Aspen Global Change GREEN Cross Culturall Partners Activity Manual

Selecting an Issue to Address (9-12 Social Studies)

After investigating a local waterway, have the class brainstorm a list of problems that affect the stream. The students pick one problem to act upon based on a list of selection criteria they generate. Students then deelop a prrecise statement of the problem they have selected. Then, together a decision should be made about what action could be taken to solve the problem after brainstorming a list of options. After a successful outcome is decided upon, the students begin to take action.

— Investigating Rivers and Streams, GREEN

My Life’s Journey (9-12 Language Arts)

Thinking and writing about your life using the river as a metaphor.

To reinforce the elements of river formation and drainage, students in Language Arts class compare their own life’s journey (from birth to present) to that of a river. Students will have already learned about a river’s physical features from their science class and know the terminology associated with it.

On a poster, have the students draw a river with illustrations or photos depicting each element of the river (origin, oxbow, rapids, waterfalls, confluence, dam, calm deep pools, eddy, riffle, mouth). In addition to the illustration or photo of the physical feature, have the students describe how the element of the river relates to their life. Along with the poster, the students should write a narrative describing each element of their personal journey. Emphasize that the students delve into their lives only as deeply as they feel comfortable.

— Debra Nickerson, Yelm Community Schools, Yelm WA

Observation (9-12 Language Arts)

The students should first read “Walking” by Linda Hogan to put them in an observation mind-frame, and then they should closely observe an object in nature: a leaf, an insect, a tree, a cloud. Describe the object in detailed notes in a journal, emphasizing the description with imagery trying to appeal to all of the senses. What feelings or emotions does the object evoke in the student? Is the object part of a larger whole? Does the description cause the student to think about the other parts or aspets of nature? Have the students write a well-developed, thoughtful paragraph describing the item they chose.

— Lisa Hornyak, North Mason High School, Belfair WA

Collage (9-12 Language Arts/Fine Arts)

The students should read “Drama on a Wooden Fence” by Mary Leister and choose at least three specific scenes from the story. In small groups, the students can draw, or cut and paste from a magazine, three scenes onto paper. The resulting collage should give the page number, the specific text from the story near the copied scene, and the names of your group members.

— Lisa Hornyak, North Mason High School, Belfair WA
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