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Watersheds Watersheds Everywhere

Teachers Guide : Lesson Session 1


1. Ask for a definition of "watershed" and write the definition on the board. (Watershed: The land area that water moves across or under while flowing to a stream, spring, pond, lake or river.) Explain that watersheds are named after the main river or creek that drains the water.

Place the Mississippi River Basin map on your overhead. Orient students to the map with questions such as:

What is this a map of? (Continental US)
What does the multi-colored area show? (the Mississippi River Basin or watershed)

Identify and trace the basin boundary. The Rocky Mountains form the basin’s western boundary and the Appalachian Mountains form the eastern boundary.
• What does each differently colored area show? (name each watershed)
Is the land high or low where they touch?
Where is Missouri?
How many of the watersheds extend into Missouri? Have students locate southern Missouri.
• What is the name of the part of the Mississippi River Basin that we live in? (Arkansas-Red-White or Missouri)
What does the name refer to? (rivers)
How do these two regions differ? (Arkansas-Red-White is smaller but combines three rivers' watersheds; Missouri is much larger but only one river).
* What other states are included in the regions?

Now place the Water Resource Regions map on your overhead.
• How is it like the Mississippi River Basin map? How is it different?
• Identify the six watersheds in the Mississippi River Basin. You may need to return to the Mississippi River Basin map to do this.
• Where is the state of Missouri?…the Ozark Divide? Where are we?
• Trace the White River for the students.

2. Explain that you are going to focus on the White River Basin as you hand out the White River Basin map and a highlighter to each student.

Place the transparency of this map on your overhead projector.
• What states are in the White River Basin?
• What do the different colored areas show?
• What are some other rivers in this watershed?

Locate the Ozark Divide.
• What big watershed lies to the north?( Missouri River)
• Which one is located to the south? (White River)
• Point out that Mansfield, Norwood or Mountain Grove are in the Missouri River Basin. This basin is on the north side of the Ozark Divide. Some students from these districts live in the Missouri River Basin and some live in the White River Basin.
• Locate the North Fork Watershed. Bryant Creek is a part of the North Fork Watershed. It’s the creek shown on the left, by the word "north". The North Fork River is on the right and is the North Fork of the White River.
• Have students locate the boundary of the North Fork Watershed and trace it with their highlighter.

3. Hand out the Bryant Creek Watershed map to the students. Using the poster map of the Bryant Watershed, read the title and orient students to this map.

• Begin by having students find the town where their school is located, that is, where they are on the map right now.
• Have students locate the watershed boundary and trace it with their finger, identifying the towns that are on and near the boundary.

4. Next direct them to Cedar Gap Conservation Area and explain that this is the headwaters area of Bryant Creek. Point out the small tributaries that are the beginning of the Bryant. Have students highlight from the headwaters to Bryant Spring and on down the entire length of the creek.

• Where does the creek end? (Tecumseh, near Norfork Lake)

Direct students to find the beginning of the stream that is near Mountain Grove.
• What is the name of this river? (North Fork)
• Is it in the Bryant Creek Watershed? (No)

Have them place a finger from one hand on the beginning of the North Fork and a finger from the other hand on Cedar Gap. Trace the two streams at the same time.
• Where do you end up? (at their confluence just above Tecumseh and Norfork Lake)
• Have them follow [younger students can finger trace] the roads in the watershed from point-to-point, and tell which roads they have traveled. Have students share familiar places they see named on the map. Now trace the boundary of the Bryant Watershed with their highlighter.
• Where is the school located? Is your school in the Bryant Watershed? Is it in the White River Basin or the Missouri River Basin?
• Where is the Ozark Divide?
• Where are the very highest ridges in the Bryant Watershed? (forming the boundaries) Have students name some of the roads that follow the ridges.
• Where are the very lowest areas? (along the creek)
• What natural force brings the water to the lowest areas? (gravity)

Wrap up: Briefly review the maps used in this session. They are all about watersheds, from the Mississippi, the biggest watershed in the United States, to the Bryant, a small watershed right here in the Ozarks. In the next session, they will use more maps and learn a special kind of address called a watershed address. Everybody has one, and they will find them out in the next session.

Next Page > Session 2

Developed by Lois Reborne and Mary Chipps, 2001, with funding from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Copyright © Bryant Watershed Project, Inc. All rights reserved. May be printed for classroom use. Find this lesson online at: