Small Scale Watershed - Schoolyard
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered:
How the activity is situated in the course:
National or State Education Standards addressed by this activity?:
Content/concepts goals for this activity:
- For convenience, measurements of volume rather than mass are often used by Earth scientists to monitor quantities of water in natural systems. (For this unit, we will ignore volume changes that occur due to changes in temperature.)
- Volumes of water added to a system or removed from a system are calculated by measuring and multiplying the length, width, and depth of water (volume = length x width x depth). A rain gauge provides a measure of depth (of precipitation that falls into the rain gauge), but the length and width of an area must also be measured. In a lake or reservoir, the volume of water can be calculated by the width and length of the water body multiplied by its average depth.
- In a soil and water system, where soil particles are assumed to be fixed, measuring the volume of water added to a system and the volume of water that leaves a system provides a way to estimate the volume of water that remains within a system.
- While water particles are most commonly added to a soil-water system via rain, they can be removed via evaporation, uptake by plants, surface runoff, and subsurface runoff. Water particles can also be stored in the system.
- Humans can alter evaporation, uptake by plants, surface runoff, and subsurface runoff through land use patterns (paving surfaces, re-grading slopes, or changing vegetation cover, for instance).
- Water naturally drains downhill (from a higher elevation to a lower elevation) due to gravity.
- A watershed is a region from which water drains to a common location.
- Scientists can create complex mathematical models that allow them to adjust many factors and predict the effect on storage, surface runoff, and subsurface runoff.
- Computers allow scientists to design more complex models and use the models over larger geographic areas or longer time scales than would otherwise be possible.
- As scientists collect additional data and improve their understanding of the Earth System, mathematical models are improved and more accurate predictions are made.
- Geoscientists are working on topics that have applications in everyday life.
- Geoscientists need to apply their content knowledge in innovative ways while working with a diverse range of partners to solve complex problems.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity:
Other skills goals for this activity:
Description of the activity/assignment
Determining whether students have met the goals
Download teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment:Overview: Small Scale Watershed - Schoolyard (Acrobat (PDF) 64kB Nov25 15)
- Instructors Notes:Teacher Notes: Small Scale Watershed - Schoolyard (Acrobat (PDF) 46.4MB Nov25 15)
- Solution Set:
- Handout: OSU West Campus Aerial Photo (Acrobat (PDF) 1MB Nov25 15)
- Handout: OSU West Campus Stormwater Pipes (Acrobat (PDF) 147kB Nov25 15)
- Handout: Precipitation Events (Acrobat (PDF) 45kB Nov25 15)
Controlled Vocabulary Terms
Grade Level: High School (9-12), Middle (6-8):Middle - 8