The curriculum is divided into two modules targeted at middle and high school earth and environmental science classes. In the first module, Water Availability, students ask the following driving questions: "When does precipitation come?" and "Where does it go?"

Using the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) data, students look at annual precipitation, evaporation, and surface runoff data across the continental U.S. in a week-long investigation. Students use the GIS to query the data for areas of high and low precipitation and to create map tables to help them better visualize data. This module uses the GIS tool found at: (U.S. only) or (international).

In the second module, Human Impact on the Watershed, students look at land cover and streamgage data from two different years and analyze change over time. They learn about hydrographs created from real streamgage data and interpret patterns. Module 2 is 10-15 days long, depending on how many field activities you choose to incorporate. The GIS for this module can be found at: Water Availability and Human Impact on the Watershed may be used in sequence or as standalone units.

Much of the curriculum is computer-based, but it is supplemented by hands-on activities and (optional) field experiences. The curriculum is aligned to the following frameworks:

National Geography Standards

National Science Education Standards

AAAS Benchmarks for Science Literacy

College Readiness Standards

Illinois State Standards

To see a full list of standards for Human Impact on the Watershed, download the Standards Table here.

Map table of precipitation, evaporation, and surface runoff data

Map table of precipitation, evaporation, and surface runoff data.