Water Cycle Review, Divides and Watersheds (Drainage Basins), Aquifer Notebook Pages

Last week we spent time learning about the water cycle, divides and watersheds and underground water. We have just started a big unit on they hydrosphere (ie. oceans), so it’s important the kids understand the water cycle because of the profound impact it has on our world’s oceans and vice-versa.

We used many of the same materials we used a few years ago.  You’ll find links to these beautiful posters here: Free Water and Water Cycle Resources

Water-Cycle-PrintablesI printed out one of the black and white water cycle printable for ED and the kids took notes using the top water cycle poster.

The kids wrote definitions of the major terms like precipitation, condensation, evapotranspiration, evaporation, sublimation, etc.


We talked a lot about where water goes after precipitation falls. We talked about percolation and aquifers.

And, we also learned about divides and watersheds (i.e. drainage basins). I pulled out a map and we talked about where the divides and where the drainage basins would be (on the middle notebook page below).

Then finally, we examined the ocean drainage map and examined into which ocean water would drain in various locations around the world.  (We also talked quite a bit about the Continental Divide in the U.S. and talked about the direction some of the rivers flow — such as the Missouri (which flows generally eastward) and the Snake (which flows generally west).

A divide is a ridge or continuous line of high land, from which water flows in different directions.

A drainage basin, or watershed, is an area into which all the water on one side of a divide flows.

Water-Cycle-Worksheets-Divides-Watersheds-Ocean-DrainageWe went on to spend more time on  underground water. We talked about aquifers and the water table and spent time talking about wells (and also about what happens if ground water is used up).  I’ve included our notebook page and the answer sheet (pictured below) as well:

Underground-Water-Aquifer-WaterTable-WorksheetsIf you are interested you can download these worksheets here. They are currently free! ~Liesl



Books and Resources we are Using (I’ll add to this list as we continue on with our Ocean Unit):

We are using McDougal Littell Middle School Science: Student Edition Course 3 Integrated Course 3 2005 (affiliate link), the section on Earth’s Waters (which is available as it’s own book: McDougal Littell Science: Student Edition Earth’s Waters 2007) (affiliate link) if you don’t want a giant textbook. These have the *same* material, just the yellow text covers three different units (one of which is water/oceans).  This is definitely not the only resource we’ll be using for this unit, but it’s a good start. It has plenty of diagrams and photos and some good experiment/activity ideas. Note: We are only using Chapter 1 (for this section) and Chapters 3 and 4 (for the ocean).


We watched two videos on the Water Cycle. These were both very good and covered slightly different material:

National Science Foundation:  The Water Cycle,    —  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=al-do-HGuIk

NASA: The Earth’s Water Cycle    —  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaDkph9yQBs


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