As Denver and the West begin to address the next generation of water challenges, from climate change to the gap between supply and demand, educating the future leaders in our community about their role in the water cycle has never been more important.
That is why Denver Water has a dynamic Youth Education program that includes a Teacher Resource Packet to support sixth-grade water education, classroom presentations and a variety of online, interactive teaching aids.
Over the next six weeks we’ll use this blog to provide weekly posts of factual, locally relevant resources, activities, games and news clips about all things water to complement our Youth Education program. The resources provided below, and in this series of posts, will include additional teaching tools and information to enhance your discussions on how water relates directly to you and your students.
Week one: Watersheds
- What is a watershed? Explore the natural and human factors that influence a watershed in the Watershed Activity section.
- Visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website and enter your zip code or city name to learn about the watershed you live in.
- Contact organizations that are working to protect your watershed. Many of these organizations, such as The Greenway Foundation and Earth Force, provide hands-on learning opportunities for students.
Charts, graphs & maps
This map from the Natural Resources Conservation Service shows how current snowpack levels in Colorado’s watersheds compare to the long-term median. Measuring snowpack in each watershed is a vital part of managing a water supply, because it helps water managers estimate how much runoff (snowmelt) to expect in the spring months. Denver Water’s collection system is comprised of portions of the South Platte and Colorado River watersheds shown below.
Math & science questions
- How many major watersheds are there in Colorado?
- How do you find the median of a group of numbers? How is a median different from an average?
- If you were a water manager at Denver Water, how would you use this graph to make decisions about your water supply? What additional information would be helpful to know about your watershed’s snowpack?
The Watershed Game (Bell Museum) – In the intermediate level, you’ll be in charge of your watershed, making decisions about recreation, agriculture, transportation and much more. Can you make the right choices to ensure a healthy watershed? Depending on your students’ level of knowledge on this topic, you might consider beginning with the novice level, which provides a good introduction to the basic concepts.
Watershed Detective (Agrium) – Investigate water samples for water-quality challenges that may occur in any watershed.
Recent water news
- Big plumbing change awaits governor’s pen - The Denver Post (government)
- Weekend snow will delay effect of dust darkening high-country drifts - The Denver Post (science)
- Top 2014 OBIE Awards for Clorox, Denver Water Board, Sprint - Out of Home Magazine (art)