EnviroScape Watershed Model, Project WET, Nitrogen Cycle Classroom Lesson Kits


NVSWCD offers training to teachers, interns, youth group leaders, and adult volunteers in the use of three learning kits. These include a 3-dimensional watershed model called EnviroScape®, "The Incredible Journey" Water Cycle game created by Project WET, and a Nitrogen Cycle game.

Training takes about 1 hour and is available by appointment at the NVSWCD office, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 905, Fairfax, Virginia 22035. There is no charge for the training. Trained volunteers may borrow the model on a short-term basis when it is not in use.

To request a training or to borrow a lesson kit, contact NVSWCD's EnviroScape coordinator or call 703-324-1460, TTY 711.

EnviroScape Watershed Model

children using watershed model

The model demonstrates how different land uses affect water quality. Rain (from a spray bottle) carries soil (cocoa), fertilizer (green sprinkles), trash (rainbow sprinkles), toxic substances like pesticides and motor oil (red sprinkles), and animal waste (chocolate sprinkles) to a lake, where the effects of the pollution become plainly visible. Land use includes a residential neighborhood, construction site, farm, and roads. The model is also used to show ways individuals and communities can help reduce pollution that ends up in our streams, lakes, and rivers.

The EnviroScape kit includes:

  • Tabletop model
  • Land use figurines
  • Kid-safe "pollutants"
  • Spray bottles for "rain"

This learning kit is great for upper elementary school through middle school grades, but can be adapted for all K-12 grades. See below for the EnviroScape's 2010 Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) correlations.

"The Incredible Journey" - Water Cycle Game (Project WET)

ground water cube 2 This game demonstrates the dynamic ways in which water molecules move and change states within the water cycle. Students pretend to be water molecules, and move through nine different stations where water can collect (clouds, plants, animals, rivers, oceans, lakes, ground water, soil, and glaciers). They discover how heat energy, gravity, and electromagnetic energy influence the movement of water through watersheds. This game allows students to become familiar with the water cycle's complex and "web-like" components.

"The Incredible Journey" kit includes:

  • Nine station signs
  • Nine 8"x8" cubes
  • Water Journey Map Worksheets
  • Beads for journey bracelets
  • Lesson plan and Instructions

This learning kit is great for upper elementary school through middle school grades, but can be adapted for all K-12 grades. See below for "The Incredible Journey" kit's correlations with 2010 Virginia SOLs.

Nitrogen Cycle Game

nitrogen cycle cube image This game demonstrates the dynamic ways in which nitrogen atoms move as different compounds, chemical formulas, and physical states within the nitrogen cycle. Students pretend to be nitrogen atoms, and move through seven compound stations (Atmospheric Nitrogen, Soil Ammonium, Soil Nitrite, Soil Nitrate, Plant Amino Acid/Protein/Nucleic Acid, Animal Amino Acie/Protein/Nucleic Acid, and Nitrogenous Waste - Urea/Uric Acid/Ammonia). They discover how different conversion processes influence the movement of nitrogen through watersheds. This game illustrates the complex and interconnected components of the nitrogen cycle.

The Nitrogen Cycle kit includes:

  • Seven station signs
  • Seven 8"x8" cubes
  • Project sheet
  • Lesson plan and Instructions

This learning kit is great for upper elementary school through middle school grades, but can be adapted for all K-12 grades. See below for the Nitrogen Cycle kit's correlations with 2010 Virginia SOLs.



These learning kits correlate with the following 2010 Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) for Science:

Grade K

Matter

K.5 The student will investigate and understand that water flows and has properties that can be observed and tested. Key concepts include:

  • water occurs in different phases
  • water flows downhill
  • some materials float in water, while others sink

Earth Resources

K.11 The student will investigate and understand that materials can be reused, recycled, and conserved. Key concepts include:

  • materials and objects can be used over and over again
  • everyday materials can be recycled
  • water and energy conservation at home and in school helps ensure resources are available for future use

Grade 1

Earth Resources

1.8 The student will investigate and understand that natural resources are limited. Key concepts include:

  • identification of natural resources (plants and animals, water, air, land,
    minerals, forests, and soil)
  • factors that affect air and water quality
  • recycling, reusing, and reducing consumption of natural resources

Grade 2

Earth Resources

2.8 The student will investigate and understand that plants produce oxygen and food, are a source of useful products, and provide benefits in nature. Key concepts include:

  • plants provide oxygen, homes, and food for many animals
  • plants can help reduce erosion

Grade 3

Living Systems

3.6 The student will investigate and understand that ecosystems support a diversity of plants and animals that share limited resources. Key concepts include:

  • aquatic ecosystems (pond, marshland, swamp, stream, and river)
  • terrestrial ecosystems (desert, grassland, rain forest, and forest
    environments)

Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change

3.9 The student will investigate and understand the water cycle and its relationship to life on Earth. Key concepts include:

  • there are many sources of water on earth
  • the energy from the sun drives the water cycle
  • the water cycle involves several processes
  • water is essential for living things
  • water on Earth is limited and needs to be conserved

Earth Resources

3.10 The student will investigate and understand that natural events and human influences can affect the survival of species. Key concepts include:

  • the effects of human activity on the quality of air, water, and habitat
  • the effects of fire, flood, disease, and erosion on organisms
  • conservation and resource renewal

Grade 4

Living Systems

4.5 The student will investigate and understand how plants and animals, including humans, in an ecosystem interact with one another and with the nonliving components in the ecosystem. Key concepts include:

  • influences of human activity on ecosystems

Earth Resources

4.9 The student will investigate and understand important Virginia natural resources. Key concepts include:

  • watersheds and water resources
  • forests, soil, and land

Grade 5

Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change

5.7 The student will investigate and understand how Earth's surface is constantly changing. Key concepts include:

  • weathering, erosion, and deposition
  • human impact

Grade 6

Matter

6.5 The student will investigate and understand the unique properties and characteristics of water and its roles in the natural and human-made environment. Key concepts include:

  • water as the universal solvent
  • the properties of water in all three phases
  • the action of water in physical and chemical weathering
  • the importance of water for agriculture, power generation, and public health
  • the importance of protecting and maintaining water resources

Living Systems

6.7 The student will investigate and understand the natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems. Key concepts include:

  • the health of ecosystems and the abiotic factors of a watershed
  • the location and structure of Virginia's regional watershed systems
  • divides, tributaries, river systems, and river and stream processes
  • wetlands
  • estuaries
  • major conservation, health, and safety issues associated with watersheds
  • water monitoring and analysis using field equipment including hand-held technology

Earth Resources

6.9 The student will investigate and understand public policy decisions relating to the environment. Key concepts include:

  • management of renewable resources (water, air, soil, plant life, animal life)
  • the mitigation of land-use and environmental hazards through preventive measures
  • cost/benefit tradeoffs in conservation policies

Life Science

LS.10 The student will investigate and understand that ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms are dynamic, change over time, and respond to daily, seasonal, and long-term changes in their environment. Key concepts include:

  • eutrophication, climate changes, and catastrophic disturbances

LS.11 The student will investigate and understand the relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity. Key concepts include:

  • environmental issues (water supply, air quality, energy production, and waste management)

Earth Science

ES.7 The student will investigate and understand the differences between renewable and nonrenewable resources. Key concepts include:

  • fossil fuels, minerals, rocks, water, and vegetation
  • advantages and disadvantages of various energy sources
  • resources found in Virginia
  • environmental costs and benefits

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