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Moving Water

Name of Corresponding Unit Plan: Aquatic Environments

Grade Level: 5-12

Common Core Standards:
RI.1. Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

RS.4. Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context.

Content Areas: Science

Recommended Length/Duration: 45-60 minute period

Learning Goals: Students will learn about the different forces that affect the movement of water in different aquatic settings.


  1. Introduce the lesson by describing aquatic environments as dynamic rather than static systems.  Water is in constant motion.  The motion of the water affects the underwater environment in several ways.
  2. Have students read independently or together as a group the article on “Moving Water.”  Pre-teach new vocabulary if necessary.  Assist students with questions as needed.
  3. Have students respond to the reading comprehension questions.  When they have had a chance to answer the questions, share responses and clarify any disagreements or questions.
  4. Discuss student responses to the helpful and destructive aspects of moving water. 

Assessments: Informal assessment based on effort, participation, and accuracy of responses.

Materials/Resources: Moving Water and Its Effects Article (pdf), Worksheet

Special Considerations: Weaker readers might be paired with stronger readers.

Extensions: Students might be interested in looking at the tide tables or water level data for a nearby lake.

Students might be interested in measuring the current of a nearby stream.

Additional Resources
A more thorough description of Seasonal Lake Stratification by Grand Valley State University.