The Big Water Questions

Each of the three RiverXchange curriculum units features hands-on activities that reinforce one or more key water concepts known as The Big Water Questions.  These questions are intentionally broad — such as Is every place in the world part of a watershed? — to encourage students to reach for deeper meaning.

Each broad question is then followed by one or more specific questions — such as What is a watershed?  Where does your river start?  Into what ocean does your river eventually flow?  How much precipitation does your community receive each year?.  The goal is for students to understand all questions and be able to formulate logical answers, but our hope is that teachers will view RiverXchange as a great opportunity to help their students become active discoverers

Understanding a Watershed

  • Is every place in the world part of a watershed?
  • Where does your community’s stormwater go?
  • How can surface water become polluted?
  • How does the water cycle relate to weather?
  • How are groundwater and surface water connected?
  • How can groundwater become polluted?
  • What actions can all of us take to keep water clean?

Water in Our Society

  • In what ways does our society use water?
  • Where does your community’s drinking water come from?
  • Does everyone have the right to use as much water as they want?
  • Where does your community’s wastewater go?
  • What actions can all of us take to conserve water?

River Ecosystem

  • How does water affect living things in an ecosystem?
  • What role do forests play in a watershed?
  • What role do wetlands play in a watershed?
  • What are some of the ways scientists can determine the health of a river, lake, bay or ocean?
  • What actions can all of us take to improve the health of our ecosystem?

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