Watershed Model

David Rosen/Wildside Photography

The Splash Elementary Curriculum contains strong messages about protecting water quality throughout our watersheds. The concept of a watershed can be difficult to grasp. We’ve found the best way to help students understand it is to experiment with a model of an urban area with streams flowing through it.

The students participate by depositing various pollutants (represented by different colored liquids) on certain parts of the watershed model. The Splash guide explains why each type of pollution is harmful in aquatic ecosystems and what we can do to prevent it from entering our waterways.

After all the pollutants have been put on the model, the students “make it rain” by spraying water over the entire watershed. They get to observe the colored runoff “polluting” the streams and rivers as it flows downhill and collects in the low areas of the watershed.

The students come to realize that the critter they studied could die as a result of these types of pollution. More importantly, they walk away from this activity with an impressive knowledge of how to prevent water pollution from harming our aquatic ecosystems.