Earth Science Week Classroom Activities

Identifying Your Watershed

Activity Source:

Water Use In Vermont - An Activities Guide For Teachers (United States Geological Survey)


To identify the (1) watershed you live in, (2) source of water used at home, and (3) pathway of surface runoff in your watershed.

Look at the watershed maps of your state to answer the following questions:

  1. In what town do you reside?
  2. Locate your town on the town map.
  3. Locate your watershed on the town map. With your finger, trace the watershed boundaries.
  4. What is the name of the watershed in which you live? (Look at the watershed map.)
  5. What is a watershed?
  6. Is your town contained entirely within one watershed? If no, what is the name of the other watershed in your town?
  7. Is there a town near yours that is in more than one watershed? Identify this town on the map and write the town name here.
  8. Do watershed boundaries follow political boundaries such as town lines? Why or why not?
  9. What is the source of your drinking water at home? (Circle the source)
    Private Well
    River Spring
    Public water supplier (reservoir, town well)

Challenge Questions

Pathway of Water in Your Watershed

Water flows from high elevations to low elevations. In a stream or river, water flows from upstream to downstream.

10. What path do you think water follows in your watershed? With your finger, trace the pathway of water draining from the high elevations in your watershed. (Use the large map on the poster and place an arrow on the map to show the direction water flows.)

11. What patterns do the rivers and streams create in your watershed? Sketch the pattern of drainage. Explain what causes these patterns

12. If gasoline spilled into the river upstream from your town, what path do you think the gasoline would take based on your knowledge of river pathways in your watershed? Refer to the watershed map before writing your explanation here.

Extra Project

Investigate methods used to identify, track, and monitor river pollution and describe a method that scientists would use to determine how long it would take a pollutant in a river to travel downstream to the next town.