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Flying Over Watersheds

Middle, Secondary


In this activity students will use Google Earth to get a ‘birds-eye’ view of their local watershed.  The lesson explores what constitutes a watershed, the many important functions they perform and the need to protect them.  Depending on the location and watershed size, students may also consider its international implications.  Students will:

  • use topographic and street maps to locate their local watershed and the notable natural and built features found within
  • familiarize themselves with Google Earth
  • use the program to locate their watershed, its boundaries and the features noted earlier on the paper maps
  • use Google Earth to ‘fly over’ their watershed and complete the exercise included in the lesson

In addition to watershed facts provided by Google Earth, the resource includes detailed background information for both teacher and student.  A number of suggestions for assessment and extending the learning are also provided.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Using Google Earth
  • Reading topographical maps

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This activity will connect any study of watersheds to the student's own community and experience. It would effectively support units in physical geography and science (water systems on earth).

Relevant Curriculum Units

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Themes Addressed

Water (1)

  • Watershed Protection