Resources for Teachers

Grade 9-12: Water

General Water|| Floods|| Groundwater

General Water

USGS Water Science School- Background Information
The best starting point for a wealth of general information about water science. What is water? What are its properties and how are they measured? How is water used? How does the USGS measure streamflow and collect water samples? A glossary, picture gallery, and activity center are among the many additional features.

Education Page from the USGS Water Resources Program- Background Information
A comprehensive list of water-related materials created for the classroom and for the general public.

USGS Water Data Discovery- Background Information
Go here to find historical and real-time water data for classroom use. For data from a specific river or stream, the interactive National Water Information System Mapper is a good starting point.

Science in Your Watershed- Background Information
Find scientific information about your local watershed. Information is from the USGS and many other organizations. Includes links to educational information from many of those agencies.

Water Use in the United States- Background Information
How much water do we use in the United States? How do those numbers change over a 5 year period?

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.

Ask a River to Text You with a WaterAlert- Activity
Incorporate real-time data in the classroom by receiving instant, customized updates about water conditions at a specific river through WaterAlert.

Water Education Posters- Posters
Download and print a series of nine posters with connecting cartoons that illustrate nine different water concepts: Coastal Hazards, Watersheds, Hazardous Waste, Wetlands, Water Use, Wastewater, Navigation, Groundwater, and Water Quality. Classroom activities targeted to middle school students are on the back sides of the posters:


USGS Groundwater Information Page- Background Information
This gateway to ground water information and data is an excellent starting point for learning about groundwater. Includes links to maps, real-time data, ground water basics, publications, and selected topics.

What is Ground Water?- Background Information
A very simple explanation of ground water 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.

Outreach Notebook for Groundwater- Lessons
Five groundwater-related lesson plans for grades 6-8, complete with forms, diagrams, and supporting information. Although these were designed to be taught by an instructor and a water professional working together, a thoughtful educator could easily handle the lessons on their own.

Ground Water Atlas of the United States- Maps
Learn about the ground-water resources of regional areas that collectively cover the U.S. and its territories. Text and maps are used to describe the climate, physiography, geology, land use, major aquifers, and ground-water withdrawals for each region.

Aquifer Basics- Background Information
An aquifer is an underground layer of permeable rock, sediment, or soil that yields water. This site describes different kinds of aquifers and where they are located.

Sustainability of Ground-Water Resources - Background Information
Ground water provides about 40 percent of the Nation's public water supply. Written for the general public, this publication contains numerous diagrams and maps.

Groundwater and Surface Water - A Single Resource- Background Information
Written for the general public, this online publication includes a chapter on the hydrologic cycle and has many excellent diagrams that illustrate the interactions of groundwater and surface water. Discusses issues related to water supply, water quality, and degradation of aquatic environments.

Ground Water and the Rural Homeowner- Background Information
Written for the general public, this heavily illustrated 36-page booklet describes groundwater issues that might impact students who get their water from wells, such as water-level declines and contamination.


USGS Flood Information- Background Information
The best starting point for information about current and past floods. Includes links to alerts, maps, photographs, and videos.

Large Floods in the United States: Where they Happen and Why (Circular 1245)- 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 - USGS Measures a Century of Floods- Background Information
During the 20th century, floods were the number-one natural disaster in the United States in terms of the number of lives lost and property damage. This 4-page fact sheet briefly describes the different types of floods and lists the 32 most significant floods during the 20th century.

What is a 100-Year Flood?- Background Information
The term "100-year flood" is part of the national lexicon, but is often a source of confusion. Download and/or print this free poster that attempts to explain the concept, probabilistic nature, and inherent uncertainties of the "100-year flood" to the layman. Print full-size at 44" x 38" or on 11" x 17" paper.

How to Calculate a 100-year Flood - Activity
This activity takes USGS steam data going back up to 100 years, and calculates a 100-year flood level. It can be adapted to any stream or river. With a topomap, students can also map the effect of a 100-year flood.

Size and Occurrence of Floods- Activity
Students use macaroni or beans to calculate the statistics of floor recurrence (see back side of poster).

Floods and Flood Plains- Background Information

USGS FAQs on Floods and Droughts- Background Information
Frequently Asked Questions about floods and droughts.