• Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

    Black Canyon Of The Gunnison

    National Park Colorado

Water: The Continuing Cycle

National Park Service Mission

...to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area Outreach Education is committed to: Creating an awareness and fostering an appreciation for the mission of the National Park Service and the natural, cultural, and historic resources of Curecanti National Recreation Area and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

EDUCATION LESSON PLAN

Curriculum enhancing activities designed to complement national and state content standards across a variety of disciplines.

Title: Water: The Continuing Cycle

Grade level: Second Grade

Time length: 60 minutes

Subject areas: Science, mathematics, and civics

Teacher: NPS Education Specialist

Colorado Content Standards: Science: (4.3) Students know major sources of water, its uses, importance, and cyclic patterns of movement through the environment.

Mathematics: (1) Students develop number sense and use numbers and number relationships in problem-solving situations and communicate the reasoning used in solving these problems.

Civics: (4) Students know the political relationship of the United States and its citizens to other nations and to world affairs.

Theme: Water is a limited resource that must be used carefully, because it is essential for life.

NPS focus: Public Law 39-535 (Organic Act),

Public Law 95-250 (Redwood National Park Expansion Act),

Vail Agenda Education Committee Report (Strategic Goal #2; Action Plan 16) and (Strategic Goal #3; Action Plan 52,62),

Curecanti and Black Canyon Themes: Natural Resources/Wildlife

Environmental concepts:The sun is the source of all energy (energy flow).

Everything is going somewhere (cycles).

Everything is becoming something else (change).

There is no free lunch (community).

Environmental learning hierarchy: Ecological principles, problem solving

Materials: Map of Colorado, with Gunnison River highlighted; 3 laminated arrows; laminated printed words (precipitation, evaporation, condensation); outdoor area; one gallon clear plastic jar labeled "Gunnison River" filled with blue-colored water; one quart clear plastic jar labeled "Gulf of California"; blue food coloring; set of 7 cards representing water uses with strings for hanging around participants' necks (water uses on cards: wildlife, power, ranching, fire fighting, home, sports, industry); one gallon clear plastic jar filled with clear water; liquid soap; toothpaste; toilet paper; candy wrapper; red and yellow food coloring; coffee filter; plastic container for filtering; bleach; poster showing the earth's surface as three-fourths water; clear Nalgene bottle or milk container filled with water; story book called Water (see below) or Away on the Bay .

Perrot-Soutter, Andrienne. (1993). Water. Italy: American Education Publishing.

I. INSTRUCTIONAL OUTCOMES

Knowledge level: Students will be able to verbally identify at least one step of the water cycle.

Students will be able to verbally identify common uses of water.

Comprehension level: Students will be able to verbally describe ways of ensuring sufficient quality water (water protection and conservation).

II. ANTICIPATORY SET

Today we’re going to talk about the water cycle. Does anybody know what the water cycle is? Well, a cycle is like a circle-it doesn’t have a beginning or an end. It just keeps going on forever. There are three steps in the water cycle. One of the steps is precipitation. Let’s say that together-PRECIPITATION. Precipitation is rain, snow, hail, and other forms of water that fall from the clouds. Eventually the snow melts and travels through rivers to big lakes, like Blue Mesa Reservoir. Rain forms puddles on the ground or it may fall into a river or a lake. When the sun shines, the temperature gets warmer and the puddles start to dry up and disappear. Or if you have a wet shirt and you put it in the sunshine, it dries. What happens to the water? Does it disappear forever? No, it’s still in the water cycle, but it’s turned from liquid water into a gas called water vapor, and it travels up into the clouds. This step of the water cycle is called evaporation. Let’s say that together-EVAPORATION. When the air gets cool enough, the water vapor forms tiny droplets of water in the clouds. This is called condensation. Let’s say that together-CONDENSATION. What happens next? The cycle doesn’t stop. The steps continue over and over again. The clouds are holding tiny droplets of water, and when they get big enough, they fall from the clouds to the ground. The droplets may fall as rain or snow. Do you remember what that step of the water cycle is called? Precipitation!

Each of you is a droplet of water in the water cycle. As we explain each step of the water cycle, you’ll get to act it out. I’ll show you the action for each step of the cycle. (movement=hands sprinkling water from the sky and slowly kneeling on the ground, as if forming a puddle) “The precipitation droplets have fallen from the clouds in the sky, as rain or snow. They land in puddles, rivers, or lakes and some are used by people, plants and animals as a source of water to drink.”

“The sun comes out and heats everything up. This step is called evaporation. The water in the rivers and lakes begins to evaporate, or dry up. Now instead of being a water droplet, the droplets become water vapor, and they disappear and float up into the sky.” (movement=stand up and float loosely toward sky)

“The water vapor forms clouds in the sky, and when the temperature cools off, they change from water vapor into water droplets again. This step of the water cycle is called condensation. The droplets grow bigger and bigger, and eventually, they fall to the ground as precipitation. (movement=arms embracing a bigger and bigger circle, so it looks like a swelling droplet)

And the cycle continues. Does it ever stop? No. The steps continue over and over again.

III. TEACHING PROCEDURE/METHODOLOGY

If the weather is good and students can quickly and easily go outside, do the outside version of this activity. Otherwise, do the inside version, found below.

#1 Is There Enough Water? (Outside version of the activity)

"We just learned about the three steps of the water cycle. Water is used over and over again; we can't make water, we have to use the water we already have. There is a lot of water on the earth. Three-fourths, or 75 percent, of the earth's surface is water." Show a world map and point out that the blue oceans and lakes make up three-fourths of the earth’s surface. "But most of the water is salt water, meaning that it's too salty to drink or to use for irrigation. Each tablespoon of this water represents 1% of the water on earth. Only 3 %, or 3 tablespoons, of the world's water is fresh water, which we can use to drink. And 2/3 of the fresh water is frozen in glaciers right now, so that leaves only 1% of all the world's water. But some of that water is either polluted, trapped in the soil, or too far below the ground to get to it. So the water that we can actually use is about .003% of all the water on earth. (Show a demonstration using a plastic container; one drop of water on your fingertip represents the .003% of usable water). There are a lot of people in the world that use this water. Animals and plants also need water. Do you think we will always have enough water for all of these people, animals and plants? Let's find out. What are some of the ways people and animals use water?" As students identify uses, have them come to the front and put on the appropriate card. Help them identify the uses by showing them the picture. After all seven uses have been identified, reinforce that all living things, not just people, need water. "How do we use the water from the Gunnison River in Curecanti National Recreation Area and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park? The water is stored in reservoirs, like Blue Mesa. Some of the water is used in dams, for hydroelectric power. It's used for recreation, so people can fish and boat and waterski. It's used by the wildlife, too.

Show the map of Colorado, and point out the Gunnison River. Explain that the water flows down from the Rocky Mountains, through the Taylor Reservoir, combines with the water from East River, and forms the Gunnison River. The Gunnison River flows through Curecanti, through the Black Canyon, until it combines with the water of the Colorado River in Grand Junction. The Colorado River goes through the Grand Canyon, through Lake Mead, then it crosses the border of Mexico and eventually flows into the Gulf of California. Have students line up according to height, with the tallest student next to you. Ask the student at the other end of the line to hold the "Gulf of California" jar. Show the students the "Gunnison River" jar. "This jar represents all of the water in the Gunnison River. The river flows down into Mexico and eventually reaches the Gulf of California. There are many people and animals along the river that need to use its water. Even though the river begins in the United States, it is still our responsibility to keep the water clean for the people in Mexico and other countries who might eventually use some of it. Water flows across borders, and so does air. Everyone on the planet is sharing the same natural resources, like air and water, so it's everyone's responsibility to use as few natural resources as we can, and to keep the air and water clean. Let's see how much water from the Gunnison River will make it to the Gulf of California after all of these people and animals have used it." Hand each of the seven students a plastic cup. As you start pouring water from the jar into the first person's cup, instruct them to pass the water down the line to the "Gulf of California" jar. "Since rivers keep flowing, I am going to keep pouring until my jar is empty. Remember, this isn't a race. We are trying to see how much water we can get to the Gulf of California." Alternate pouring the water quickly and at a trickle, to represent the spring flow, summer flow, autumn flow. After the "Gunnison River" jar is empty, hold up the "Gulf of California" jar. "Did very much water from the Gunnison River make it to the Gulf of California? No, the jar is pretty empty." What are some ways that we could make sure that more water makes it all the way to the Gulf of California? These are examples of water conservation.

Check for student understanding: "Do you think there is enough water for all of its many uses? There will be enough water only if we use it carefully. This is called conservation. What are some ways that we can use water wisely, or conserve water? Was it easier to pass the water when the river was flowing really fast, or slow? Did more water fall on the ground and get wasted when it was flowing fast or slow? (relate the flow of the river to the flow of the spigot in the kitchen or bathroom-if we have less water flowing, we won't waste as much)

Is There Enough Water? (Inside version of this activity)

"We just learned about the three steps of the water cycle. Water is used over and over again; we can't make water, we have to use the water we already have. There is a lot of water on the earth. Three-fourths, or 75 percent, of the earth's surface is water." Show a world map and point out that the blue oceans and lakes make up three-fourths of the earth’s surface. "But most of the water is salt water, meaning that it's too salty to drink or to use for irrigation. Each tablespoon of this water represents 1% of the water on earth. Only 3 %, or 3 tablespoons, of the world's water is fresh water, which we can use to drink. And 2/3 of the fresh water is frozen in glaciers right now, so that leaves only 1% of all the world's water. But some of that water is either polluted, trapped in the soil, or too far below the ground to get to it. So the water that we can actually use is about .003% of all the water on earth. (Show a demonstration using a Nalgene bottle or a milk container; one drop of water on your fingertip represents the .003% of usable water). There are a lot of people in the world that use this water. Animals and plants also need water. Do you think we will always have enough water for all of these people, animals and plants? Let's find out. What are some of the ways people and animals use water?" As students identify uses, have them come to the front and put on the appropriate card. Help them identify the uses by showing them the picture. After all seven uses have been identified, reinforce that all living things, not just people, need water. "How do we use the water from the Gunnison River in Curecanti National Recreation Area and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park? The water is stored in reservoirs, like Blue Mesa. Some of the water is used in dams, for hydroelectric power. It's used for recreation, so people can fish and boat and waterski. It's used by the wildlife, too.

Show the map of Colorado, and point out the Gunnison River. Explain that the water flows down from the Rocky Mountains, through the Taylor Reservoir, combines with the water from East River, and forms the Gunnison River. The Gunnison River flows through Curecanti, through the Black Canyon, until it combines with the water of the Colorado River in Grand Junction. The Colorado River goes through the Grand Canyon, through Lake Mead, then it crosses the border of Mexico and eventually flows into the Gulf of California. Have students line up according to height, with the tallest student next to you. Ask the student at the other end of the line to hold the "Gulf of California" jar. Show the students the "Gunnison River" jar. "This jar represents all of the water in the Gunnison River. The river flows down into Mexico and eventually reaches the Gulf of California. There are many people and animals along the river that need to use its water. Even though the river begins in the United States, it is still our responsibility to keep the water clean for the people in Mexico and other countries who might eventually use some of it. Water flows across borders, and so does air. Everyone on the planet is sharing the same natural resources, like air and water, so it's everyone's responsibility to use as few natural resources as we can, and to keep the air and water clean. Let's see how much water from the Gunnison River will make it to the Gulf of California after all of these people and animals have used it." Hand each of the seven students a plastic cup, and have them set it down on the table in front of them. Pass the “Gunnison River” water jar down the row, having each of the seven students pour a certain amount of the water into their cup, to represent water use. The first student pours water into his cup, then passes the “Gunnison River” water jar to the next student in line, and repeat until the last student. After the last student pours water into his cup, he will pour the rest of the water into the “Gulf of California” jar, to show how much water is left. "Did very much water from the Gunnison River make it to the Gulf of California? No, the jar is pretty empty." What are some ways that we could make sure that more water makes it all the way to the Gulf of California? These are examples of water conservation.

“Does the water that was used along the way, that’s in each of these glasses, disappear? No, it’s still part of the water cycle. So we’ll use it in our next activity.”

Check for student understanding: "Do you think there is enough water for all of its many uses? There will be enough water only if we use it carefully. This is called conservation. What are some ways that we can use water wisely, or conserve water? Was it easier to pass the water when the river was flowing really fast, or slow? Did more water fall on the ground and get wasted when it was flowing fast or slow? (relate the flow of the river to the flow of the spigot in the kitchen or bathroom-if we have less water flowing, we won't waste as much)

#2 Dirty Water (do this activity also)

"Another way of making sure that we have enough water is to protect the water that we have. We can protect our water by not polluting it." Show the jar of clean water. "It is very easy to pollute water, but it is very hard to clean the water, once it's polluted. Things that we do every day can pollute the water. What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?" Add liquid soap, toothpaste and toilet paper to the water. "We need to use all these things. We can't stop brushing our teeth. But these things still pollute our water. When we litter, we pollute the water. Even if you don't throw garbage into the water but only on the ground, the garbage may blow into the water." Add candy wrapper to the water. "Sometimes people dump chemicals, like bleach or the oil from a car, on the ground when they are done using them. Even though they didn't dump the chemicals into the water, these chemicals soak into the ground and may end up in water that's underground. Or they may get washed into rivers and lakes when it rains." Add yellow food coloring to the water, representing chemicals.

"Some factories pollute the water with chemicals. They may also pollute the water by using very hot water to produce materials and putting the hot water right back into a lake or river without cooling it." Add red food coloring to the water, representing thermal pollution. "Do fish like to live in cold water, like Blue Mesa, or in hot water? They can only survive in cold water. This hot water may cause plants and animals to die."

"Now look at the water in our jar. It used to be clean, but now it is very dirty. We have polluted our water. What can we do to clean up this water? Maybe we could filter the water to clean it." Pour dirty water through a coffee filter into another plastic container. "Filtering the water helped a little. Filtering took out the toilet paper and candy wrapper. But is this water very clean? Would you want to drink this water? If I poured the small jar of dirty water into a really big jar of clean water, would you want to drink it then? Some people try to clean up water by adding the dirty water to a lot of clean water. This is called diluting. If we would pour this dirty water into a lake, the dirty water would spread out. But would the dirty water really be gone? No, this would only pollute more water. Some people think adding chemicals to the water to bleach it will make the water clean, like adding bleach when you wash your clothes to make your clothes white." Add bleach to the water. "This might make the water look clean, but would you want to drink this water? This water still has all the things in it that made it dirty, plus now there is another chemical in it. It is very hard to clean water once it is polluted. So the only solution to pollution is not to pollute in the first place."

IV. CHECK FOR STUDENT UNDERSTANDING

Explain to students that what you did to the water was only an example of water contamination, and that you used only food coloring, rather than real chemicals.

"What are some things you can do to keep water clean? (Don't put tissues or other garbage in the toilet bowl and flush it. The garbage then enters the water system. Instead, use the garbage can for anything other than toilet paper.) How can you share this message with your friends and family?"

VII. CLOSURE

If time permits, teach students the following song, from Project WET, page 70 (to the tune of "Old McDonald"):



We need water to survive,

it keeps us alive!

And if you drink it everyday

You can run and play.

.......It's in our food, it's in the air, you'll find water everywhere,

We need water to survive,

it keeps us alive!

Gather students in a semicircle and review the lesson by reading Water.

Final check for student understanding: Randomly ask students to name one of the steps of the water cycle. After the three steps have been identified, randomly ask students to name ways water is used. Then randomly ask students how we can make sure we'll have enough clean water in the future.

Did You Know?

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy is abundant at the bottom of Black Canyon. It can grow over 5 feet tall along the Gunnison River.