Rain, weather, and change
The Water Spotters curriculum was developed by teachers and scientists, and it emphasizes both core scientific standards and application learning about the water cycle. The curriculum is divided into elementary level (by grade) and middle school level and can be accessed in the sidebar.
We have identified lesson plans from the web that support the Water Spotters curriculum. The Colorado Content Standards in Science, and in some cases Math, have been matched to each lesson plan and are listed within the plans. The original source of the lesson plan is noted for each one. Each grade level has its own Weather Journal that can be printed for each of your students to use to collect information on the local weather.
The middle school modules are designed for students to work through the lessons in order starting with “a”. Module 1 contains an introductory lesson on building a model watershed, which is referenced in several modules thereafter. It also has an important lesson on using weather station data from Weather Underground, which you can find the nearest station to your school through their website. We provide both a Teacher Guide (TG) and a Student Guide (SG) for each module.
What is a water isotope?
Atoms are made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons. The same element (oxygen, say) can appear as different atoms with different numbers of neutrons. We call these different atoms of the same element isotopes. The relative concentrations of isotopes often provide clues about key environmental processes. For example, we use stable water isotopes (stable because they don't radioactively decay) at the NOAA tall tower to track the extent to which the air is humidified by evaporation of falling rain or by evapotranspiration from the land. Learn more about isotopes by clicking the links below:
The video below includes background on the project and illustrates how to collect the precipitation samples.