Watching our Watershed - FREE!

by  Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

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What exactly are watersheds, what are some threats they are facing, and what can we do about it? Students will create a simple model of a watershed to investigate how water moves through our landscape.

While this program can serve as a standalone session, educators located within the Great Lakes Basin are strongly encouraged to also apply for our "Wandering the Watershed" curriculum. This curriculum arc includes the STEM beach-cleaning design challenge where students will design a machine that could remove microplastics from the Lakeshore. Students can then visit the Lakeshore in the spring to discuss their designs or join a live virtual session with a ranger instead.

More information is on our webpage: https://www.nps.gov/teachers/classrooms/wandering-the-watershed.htm

To find out if you are located within the Great Lakes Basin, check out this handy map: https://www.erbff.org/press-release/great-lakes-watersheds-map/

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About This Program


By Request: $0.00
By Request Premium: $0.00



45 minutes

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 3, 4, 5, Homeschool/Family , Learning Pod

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:


Primary Disciplines

Leadership, Problem Solving, Sciences, Social and Emotional Learning( SEL), STEM

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc...)
Microsoft Teams

Booking Information

Rangers are available for programs Monday through Friday 8am till 5pm EST. Exceptions may be made for programs to be scheduled outside of these hours, within reason.

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Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

We ask that you please give at least 24 hours notice for a cancellation or rescheduling.

About This Provider

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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

United States

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It hugs the northeast shore of Lake Michigan and includes South and North Manitou islands. The park is known for the huge scalable dunes of the Dune Climb. Beaches include Platte River Point, where the river flows into the lake. The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail winds through forests and the Port Oneida area with its 19th-century farmsteads.

Education Team

Program Details


1. This program begins with a discussion about the National Park Service "arrowhead" emblem.
2. Participants then watch a short introductory video about Sleeping Bear Dunes.
3. We get into the core of the program, first by discussing properties of water and how important fresh water is.
4. Watershed will be defined and briefly explained, followed immediately but the "build your own watershed" activity.
5. Microplastics are defined and it is explained how they get into the watershed and the food web.
6. Some ideas for helping the situation are offered, such as the three "R's" and minimizing water waste.
7. Time is allowed for questions and answers.


The participant will:
-discover why fresh water is so precious for all life.
-create their own watershed model using simple materials.
-develop an appreciation for watersheds and how important it is to keep them clean.
-list ways they can help improve the health of their watershed.
-define microplastics and explain how they can enter the food web.

Standards Alignment

National Standards

ESS2A 3-5 -- Earth materials and systems
ESS2C 3-5 -- The roles of water in Earth's surface processes
ESS3A 3-5 -- Natural resources
ETS1A 3-5 -- Defining and Delimiting and Engineering Problem
ETS1B 3-5 -- Developing Possible Solutions
ETS1C 3-5 -- Optimizing the Design Solution