Environmental Science Unit: Surface Water, Groundwater, & the Water Cycle

Rated 4.96 out of 5, based on 28 reviews
28 Ratings
Suburban Science
Grade Levels
9th - 12th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • Zip
136 + 50 PPT slides
Share this resource
Report this resource to TPT
Suburban Science
Also included in
  1. This bundle contains 6 weeks' worth of lessons, labs, and field activities to introduce your high school students to aquatic ecosystems, surface water, groundwater, marine biomes, and water pollution. Choices are integrated into the unit to provide options for teaching and learning in a variety of
    Price $55.00Original Price $65.00Save $10.00
  2. These environmental lesson plans will help your students to take charge of their learning! This comprehensive course is interactive, hands-on, and student-centered! Students learn about major environmental issues in modern society through detailed lessons and activities. Units cover the four sphe
    Price $250.00Original Price $274.00Save $24.00


This comprehensive set of lessons and activities will introduce your students to the topics of surface water, groundwater, and the water cycle. Human impacts on the environment are interwoven through each lesson to provide students with a good basis for any environmental science or APES course. A PowerPoint, guided notes, web-quests, doodle notes, activities, extension pages, and assessments are all included in this lesson. All student pages come in both PRINT and DIGITAL versions for efficient use in class or through distance learning.


What's included?

-10 Teacher Planning Pages (standards document, editable daily pacing guide, differentiation ideas for student interest, ability, and learning environment)

-1 PowerPoint (28 editable slides- highly visual and fully animated)

-3 pages of Cornell Notes (both fill-in-the-blank and editable versions included)

-3 web-quests with corresponding student pages for independent learning

-3 pages of my popular Doodle Notes(TM) and a guide to using them in your classroom

-7 Activities:

  • Properties of Water Stations Lab
  • Macroinvertebrate Stream Study (includes presentation for pre-lab)
  • Personal Water Audit
  • Watershed Mapping Activity
  • Building an Aquifer STEM Model
  • Irrigation Jigsaw Group Research Activity
  • Salination Investigation Lab

-10 Extension Pages:

  • 4 Digging Deeper extensions for critical thinking: Acid Rain, Dams, Riparian Zones, The Ogallala Aquifer
  • 5 Data Analysis extensions to practice on interpretation of graphs & math integration: Effects of Deforestation, Eutrophication, Irrigation, Impacts of Irrigation, Well Lift Costs
  • 1 Case Study: The Controversial Mesquite Tree

-1 quiz through Google Forms for automatic online grading

-24 editable task cards for a quick and easy unit review

-Editable unit test with multiple-choice and short answer questions (in both honors and regular versions)

-Supplementary Resource Ideas: links and videos for additional explanation or exploration

-Answer keys and grading rubrics for all student pages

What topics are included in this unit?

Introduction to Water & The Hydrologic Cycle

  • Unique properties of water
  • Cohesion v. adhesion
  • Processes in the water cycle (transpiration, condensation, evaporation, etc.)
  • Acid rain
  • Effects of deforestation on the water cycle

Surface Water & Watersheds

  • Watersheds (tributaries, divides, etc.)
  • Headwaters v. flat river
  • Estuaries
  • Eutrophication and acidification of aquatic ecosystems
  • Macroinvertebrate identification
  • Structure and impact of dams
  • Benefits of riparian buffers

Groundwater & Irrigation

  • Water table
  • Aquifers (confined v. unconfined)
  • Tragedy of the Commons
  • Types of irrigation (flood, furrow, spray, drip)
  • Human impacts from groundwater usage (depletion of aquifers, salinization, etc)

The unit is aligned to NGSS and many state standards. If you’d like to know whether your state standards are covered, you can send me an email at support@suburbanscience.com.

NGSS addressed in this unit: HS-ESS2-2, HS-ESS2-5, HS-ESS3-1, HS-ESS3-2, HS-ESS3-3, HS-ESS3-4, HS-ESS3-5, HS-ESS3-6, HS-LS2-6, HS-LS2-7, HS-LS4-6, HS-ETS1-3 . Additional details on standards are included in the teacher planning pages of this course.

_________________________________________________________________ _______

*For more details about the specific topics and items included, please see my PREVIEW.*

Where can I find other Environmental Science lessons?

Intro to Environmental Science

Biosphere Unit 1: Ecology, Food webs, and Symbiosis

Biosphere Unit 2: Species and Population Ecology

Biosphere Unit 3: World Biomes, Ecological Succession, and Biodiversity

Atmosphere: Weather, Wind, and Biogeochemical Cycles

Geosphere Unit 1: Plate Tectonics and Landforms

Geosphere Unit 2: Minerals, Mining, and Soil

Geosphere Unit 3: Fossil Fuels and Renewable Energy

Hydrosphere Unit 1: Surface Water, Groundwater, and the Water Cycle

Hydrosphere Unit 2: Marine Biomes and Water Pollution

Land Use & Sustainability

Or get the Full Environmental Science Curriculum which includes all these units!

What curriculum could I use with this lesson?

This lesson is ideally geared toward high school students and would work well with a general-level Environmental Science or Biology textbook. It addresses the following topics in AP Environmental Science (APES):

  • 1.7: The Hydrologic Cycle
  • 4.6: Watersheds
  • 5.1: The Tragedy of the Commons
  • 5.2: Clearcutting
  • 5.4: Impacts of Agricultural Practices
  • 5.5: Irrigation Methods
  • 5.10: Impacts of Urbanization
  • 5.11: Ecological Footprints
  • 5.12: Introduction to Sustainability
  • 7.7 Acid Rain
  • 8.2: Human Impacts on Ecosystems
  • 8.5: Eutrophication

Can I edit these resources to fit my needs?

Some of the files in this unit are editable. The text on the PowerPoints, Cornell Notes, and task cards is all editable so you can adjust the level of content and wording. The pacing guide, printable unit tests, and online quizzes through Google Forms™ are all fully editable. Web-quests, activities, extension pages, and any images included in this unit are in non-editable PDF formats to protect my intellectual property rights and those of the illustrators whose images I’ve purchased for use in this resource.


For updates about sales and new products, please follow my store: My TpT Store

You can also

⭐Subscribe to my newsletter for freebies and teaching tips

⭐Follow me on Instagram

⭐Check out my Facebook page

⭐Follow me on Pinterest

I value your feedback. Please rate this product. If you have any issues or questions about this product, please feel free to ask a question in my store or write to me at support@suburbanscience.com.

Total Pages
136 + 50 PPT slides
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
3 Weeks
Report this resource to TPT
Reported resources will be reviewed by our team. Report this resource to let us know if this resource violates TPT’s content guidelines.


to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes. Emphasis is on mechanical and chemical investigations with water and a variety of solid materials to provide the evidence for connections between the hydrologic cycle and system interactions commonly known as the rock cycle. Examples of mechanical investigations include stream transportation and deposition using a stream table, erosion using variations in soil moisture content, or frost wedging by the expansion of water as it freezes. Examples of chemical investigations include chemical weathering and recrystallization (by testing the solubility of different materials) or melt generation (by examining how water lowers the melting temperature of most solids).
Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity. Examples of human activities can include urbanization, building dams, and dissemination of invasive species.
Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among the management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity. Examples of factors that affect the management of natural resources include costs of resource extraction and waste management, per-capita consumption, and the development of new technologies. Examples of factors that affect human sustainability include agricultural efficiency, levels of conservation, and urban planning. Assessment for computational simulations is limited to using provided multi-parameter programs or constructing simplified spreadsheet calculations.
Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios. Emphasis is on the conservation, recycling, and reuse of resources (such as minerals and metals) where possible, and on minimizing impacts where it is not. Examples include developing best practices for agricultural soil use, mining (for coal, tar sands, and oil shales), and pumping (for petroleum and natural gas). Science knowledge indicates what can happen in natural systems—not what should happen.


Questions & Answers


TPT empowers educators to teach at their best.

More About Us

Keep in Touch!

Sign Up