Resources for Teachers

Grade 3-5: Water

General Water|| Floods|| Groundwater

General Water

Education - Learn About Water- Background Information
Start your search here for a wealth of water science resources that are appropriate for use in K-college classrooms.

USGS Water Science School- Activities
A fantastic resource for K-8 water science. Offers information on many aspects of water, along with pictures, data, maps, and an interactive center where students can give their opinions and test their water knowledge.   

The Water Cycle for Kids- Poster
A cartoon poster that shows water droplets traveling through the water cycle. Select the "interactive" option and choose the Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced versions to get more information. Download the poster (PDF) for free in multiple languages. There's also a version for older students.

Water Education Posters- Posters
Download posters covering nine different water topics that are drawn in a cartoon format. Posters are downloadable in both color or black and white and some are also available in Spanish. The reverse sides of the color posters contain educational activities: one version for grades 3-5 (Elementary School) and the other with activities for grades 6-8 (Middle School). The black-and-white posters are blank on the back and are intended for coloring. Activities include:

  • Water, Floods, and Flood Plains -Use simple materials and a spray bottle to learn about watersheds and floods.
  • Hazardous Waste Cleanup - Students experience the difficulty of cleaning up contaminated water.
  • The Value of Water - Students use "water dollars" to pay for the water that they use throughout the day, learning the ways we use water and its importance in day-to-day living.
  • Where Does Your Used Water Go? - Learn what happens to wastewater and the importance of treatment facilities.
  • Recharge -- Discharge - Use gravel, twigs, and water to create a valley model that demonstrates the movement of groundwater.

Streamer- Activity
Have you ever dropped a stick in a river and wondered where it might go if it floated all the way downstream? Explore America's larger streams by tracing them upstream to their source or downstream to where they empty. Learn about your stream traces and the places they pass through in a detailed report.

Science in Your Watershed- Background Information
Provides information about watersheds and a map locator for watersheds across the country.   

Hands-on Experiments to Test for Acid Mine Drainage- Activities
Fourteen very basic exercises use home-made litmus paper and household items to test creek water for acid mine drainage and to look at plants, bacteria, and insects living in the water.

Wise Wetland Ways- Activities
Teachers use wetland "artifacts" to discuss how people benefit from wetlands (on back side of poster). 


What is Ground Water?- Background Information
A very simple explanation of groundwater and aquifers. Diagrams are included.

Ground Water- Background Information
A short booklet that describes how groundwater occurs and how its quality is assessed. Contains a good glossary.Note: Older USGS publications retain the pre-2009 spelling of "ground water" as two words.


Floods and Floodplains- Background Information
This easy-to-understand fact sheet describes why floods occur and discusses the basics about flood-plain designation.

Large Floods in the United States: Where they Happen and Why- Background Information
A 13-page on-line publication that describes the geographic and climatic factors that influence the occurrence and impacts of large floods in the United States.

Significant Floods in the United States During the 20th Century- Background Information
A short description of the types of floods, how they are measured, and the 32 most significant floods of the last century.   

FAQs About Floods- Background Information
Frequently Asked Questions about floods.

The 100-Year Flood- Background Information
What is a 100-year flood and why don't these floods happen every 100 years? This simple fact sheet describes the statistics behind the designation and explains why regular measurements are essential for understanding them.