FIND YOUR WATERSHED
Source of Activity:
Students will find their watershed on a topographic map.
1 periodBy the end of this activity students should be able to:
One of the most widely used of all maps is the topographic map (often called topo maps). The feature that most distinguishes topographic maps from maps of other types is the use of contour lines to portray the shape and elevation of the land. Topographic maps render the three-dimensional ups and downs of the terrain on a two-dimensional surface.
Topographic maps usually portray both natural and human-made features. They show and name mountains, valleys, plains, lakes, rivers, and vegetation as well as roads, boundaries, transmission lines, and major buildings.
The wide range of information provided by topographic maps makes them extremely useful to professional and recreational map users alike. Topographic maps are used for engineering, energy exploration, natural resource conservation, environmental management, public works design, commercial and residential planning, and outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and fishing.
(source: USGS, http://mac.usgs.gov/mac/isb/pubs/booklets/topo/topo.html)
Ask students to write an essay about the importance of watersheds.
Have students locate several natural physical features and several human-made features on the topographic map.
Ask students to describe ways in which the physical features of the watershed could influence future human activities. Let them predict ways physical features of the watershed could influence future human activities.
Ask students to describe ways in which human activities change the shape of the watershed, and, consequently, the path along which water will flow.Extensions:
Use the topographic map to build a 3-D model of your watershed (see link to activity below)For More Information:
Free topographic maps from Topozone
Ordering information from the US Geologic Survey
How to read a topographic map
Trace the Watershed of the Humbolt River System
Hydrology Learning Activity: Model Your Watershed
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