Michigan Department of Education
Technology-Enhanced Lesson Plan
Lesson Title: Middle School Hydrosphere Unit
Created by: Barb Light
Lesson Abstract: In this unit students will master all four of the middle school
hydrosphere earth science benchmarks and two technology standards. The
technology standards that are covered are:
Discuss the societal impact of technology in the future.
Identify types of internet sites based on their domain names.
Subject Area: Science
Grade Level: 5-7
Unit Title: Middle School Hydrosphere
Michigan Educational Technology Standards Connection:
Social, Ethical, and Human Issues
5. Students will discuss the societal impact of technology in the future.
Technology Research Tools
3. Students will identify types of internet sites based on their domain
Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations Connection:
Not available at this time.
Michigan Curriculum Framework Connection:
Middle School Earth Science Hydrosphere
1. Use maps of the earth to locate water in its various forms and describe
conditions under which they exist.
2. Describe how surface water in Michigan reaches the ocean and returns.
3. Explain how water exists below the earth’s surface and how it is replenished.
4. Describe the origins of pollution in the hydrosphere.
Estimated time required to complete lesson or unit:
Estimated total time: 6 to 7 hours (360 – 420 minutes)
Daily Estimate: 50 minutes
Number of days: 7 to 9 class periods
Varies significantly depending on internet navigation ability of students and number
of extension activities used by the teacher
Websites used in the lessons – please check links before doing the lessons!
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“The Yellow Hat: The Health of the Planet and its People” (a 15 minute video on
Unitedstreaming.com about water pollution and monitoring)
Prior required technology skills: Basic internet navigation ability
Sequence of Activities:
1. Hydrosphere worksheet 1 – to be done by pairs of students. They should be
able to work at their own pace. This will probably take about 45 minutes,
depending on how comfortable the students are with navigating the internet.
2. Go over worksheet 1 with the students in a class discussion format. The
answers are provided in the word document called
“HydrosphereUnitAnswers.” This should take 20-30 minutes of class time.
3. A possible extension to worksheet 1 activities is a demonstration of Google
Earth. You can add a layer of water related data by checking the arrow next
to geographic features and choosing the water choices. Another possible
extension would be an introduction to GPS and a GPS activity.
4. Hand out worksheet 2 and have students answer the first four questions on
their own. Discuss the answers (provided on the answer sheet) to those
questions before going on.
5. Show the power point that goes with this lesson. The meat of this lesson is
the map. If possible, project this map on a white board so you can write on
it. Start at your location and trace the pathway of water from your location
to the Atlantic Ocean. You can decide how detailed you want the pathway to
be – how many rivers do they need to know. Then discuss how the water can
evaporate and go through the water cycle to return to your location as
precipitation. Also discuss the idea that an individual water molecule can
spend a very long time in the Great Lakes or in the ocean. Be sure to give
students enough time to fill in the rest of the questions on the worksheet and
discuss the answers when they have finished. The discussion and filling in
the worksheet will take 30-45 minutes. Again, the answers are on the
6. Give the mini quiz. This is available in the power point, so the students can
put their answers on paper or type them into a word document, or it is
available as a word document you can make copies of to administer to the
students. Go over the quiz answers after the students finish providing some
immediate feedback to the students. The answers are in the power point.
Allow at least 20 minutes for the quiz.
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7. Hand out worksheet 3 and allow students to work independently on it. This
can be done in pairs or individually, depending on the number of computers
available and the reading ability of the students. This is the most in depth
and most challenging of the worksheets in this unit. This will probably take at
least 60 minutes if students put in a good effort. There is a lot of reading in
this assignment. CHECK THE LINKS FOR THIS WORKSHEET CAREFULLY; ONE
OF THEM HAS THE WORD “DIRTY” IN THE ADDRESS WHICH IS OFTEN
BLOCKED BY TECH ADMINISTRATORS, BUT THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO
UNBLOCK THAT SPECIFIC SITE FOR YOU FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT.
8. Discuss the answers to this worksheet to make sure the students understand
the material in depth. Answers are provided in the answer sheet. Allow 30
minutes for this discussion.
9. If you have a favorite ground water demonstration, such as the groundwater
model made from an aquarium, do that demonstration. If not, you can break
up this unit with a water video or you can press on the next worksheet.
10. Give the students worksheet 4. If you have any way to provide this
worksheet in electronic form, such as on Class Server or your class website, I
suggest you do it that way. There are a lot of websites the students need to
go to and in electronic form they are hyperlinked so the students can click on
it instead of typing in the address. This worksheet can be done by pairs of
students or individually by students and will take at least 30 minutes.
11. Discuss the worksheet answers with the class.
12. Show “The Yellow Hat: The Health of the Planet and its People” (15 minutes
long) which is available on Unitedstreaming.com or another video about
water pollution and our responsibility to protect this vital natural resource.
13. Last post assessment assignment. This is a writing assignment and should
take 30 -60 minutes. It would be great if one or a couple of your students
had their article published in your school newsletter or local newspaper, or
even posted on your school website.
Pre-Assessment: Questions are included at the beginning of each
worksheet for the purpose of pre-assessment and introduction.
o Scoring Criteria: Teacher’s discretion – I probably would not count
these questions as part of the worksheet grade, unless they counted
for a few effort points – any student making the effort to answer them
earns those points.
Post-Assessment: There is a ten question mini quiz at designed to be given
after the second worksheet. There is also a writing assignment that is
designed to be the culminating activity of the unit. The aim of the
culminating writing assignment is for the students to demonstrate
understanding of the broad themes in science and technology that were
covered in this unit.
o Scoring Criteria: The mini quiz would be scored as a quiz. The
answers are provided in the power point after the quiz, so the students
can have immediate feedback. The culminating writing assignment can
be scored with the rubric included in the answer sheet.
Technology (hardware/software): Internet connected computers, project
(needed by teacher to show power point for lesson 2), Unitedstreaming access to
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show video for lesson 4, Google Earth on the teacher computer for an extension
demonstration, GPS units for an extension demonstration
Lab Equipment: sponges, plastic wrap (i.e. Saran Wrap), shallow containers to
contain the mess
Key Vocabulary/Key Words: hydrosphere, societal impact, domain names, .gov,
.org, .com, water, groundwater, water pollution, surface water pathway, maps
Application Beyond School: Students develop an appreciation for the Great
Lakes watershed and understand the importance of protecting it from pollution.
Students can quickly evaluate websites by first looking at the domain name.
Students appreciate the advantages technology offers society and look forward to
more technological advances.
Teacher Reflection and Notes:
The substance of the lesson and the depth of the learning experience is in the
teacher-led class discussions that take place after the students have filled in the
worksheets. I would encourage you to devote plenty of time to these and I find it
helpful to draw diagrams on the board to help explain some things, such as why we
should drill wells during the dry season.
I have tried to include a variety of internet educational activities mixed in with the
questions to keep the students interested and to remind them that learning can be
Google Earth is a really cool free download from Google. To get it go to google.com
and click on “more” which is in blue above the box you type search terms into and
then click on “Earth” and follow the instructions. Students can download it to their
computers, but it takes a bit of time.
Feel free to modify, supplement, and even cut parts of the unit to improve the
educational value of this lesson plan for your students. Happy hydrosphering!
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