BUILD A WATERSHED
(Watch what happens to a watershed when it rains.)
You Will Need:
paper cups, scissors, clay, a plastic water jug or milk carton, a rectangular pan, red, blue, and yellow drink powder, and aluminum foil
- Cut the paper cups different heights.
- Place cups upside down in the pan to represent hills.
- Cut a large piece of aluminum foil and lay it over the cups, pressing the foil around cups to make rises and dips in your watershed.
- Crimp aluminum foil tightly over the pan.
- Mold trees, ponds, lakes, buildings, animals, etc., with clay and place on your watershed. These features will demonstrate how water is captured and moved through the watershed.
- Punch 5 small holes in the upper corner of the jug.
- Fill the jug and tilt it to make it “rain” on your watershed. Notice how the water moves through the watershed.
- Next, sprinkle the drink powder on several features in your watershed to represent pollutants. For example, sprinkle red drink powder near a building or farm to represent where red clay soil is eroded during construction or tilling. Use blue powder to represent fertilizer, or mix colors together to represent black motor fluids in parking lots.
- Tilt your jug again and make it “rain” on your watershed. Watch how water sticks, pulls, and dissolves the polluted runoff (pollutants such as litter, motor oil, and soil).
Think About It!
- How many watersheds are there in your model?
- Where is the dividing line between watersheds?
- Observe how the draining water affects the red clay soil. Can you see how draining water can form streams?
- Do you think that all of the water drained to the bottom of the watershed?
- Where do you think the rest of the water went?
- How is your model different from a real watershed?
- How would grass, trees, roads, rivers with dams, lakes, or a large city affect your watershed?