illustrations-Ted Walke

Garbage bab watershedRain that falls onto the land either soaks into the ground or runs off. Water that runs off follows tiny channels, or streams. These little streams flow into bigger streams and rivers. Some flow into lakes or wetlands. All the land from which this water flows is called a watershed. Let's build one!

You'll need:


  • 1. Cover a table or the floor with several layers of newspaper or plastic drop cloth. Crumple some newspaper and lay it on top.
  • 2. Cut out the bottom of the garbage bag. Cut straight up one side of the garbage bag so that it opens into one large piece of plastic. Place it on top of the crumpled newspaper.
  • 3. Next, grab your spray bottle! Make it rain all over the watershed you just created. Watch how the water moves through your watershed. The water moves from high areas to low areas.
  • 4. Very carefully, high up in the watershed, add a tiny drop of a different color of food coloring. Now make it rain some more. What happens to that color?
  • That food coloring could represent pollution. Did it move through the rest of the watershed? How might that pollution affect the rest of the watershed? How would you feel if you lived downstream from that pollution? How would you feel if you lived upstream from that pollution?

    You might be glad that the pollution didn't flow past you. But did you ever hear the saying, "We all live downstream"? Each of us lives in a watershed. Watersheds are connected. Things that we do to the water in one area affect the water many, many miles away.

    runoff from rain
    pollution source


    In the real world, many things change the water in our watersheds. Make a list of the natural and human things that shape the water habitats in the watershed.

    Click here for answers

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    PLAY Winter 2000

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