Colorado Drought

Students build an understanding of drought in Colorado using multiple data sources in a jigsaw activity. 

Context for Use

This lesson is best used as part of the HEART Force curricular unit. Potential lessons to follow include:

This lesson could also be a stand-alone lesson to introduce students to drought in Colorado.

drought image

Impacts of drought on the Colorado River in the Southwest U.S., Photo Credit: USGS

Goals Header
What Students Will Do

  • Analyze drought data to identify patterns of drought history and risk in Colorado. 
  • Communicate information about the causes and effects of drought in your community. Explain what community members should do in response to a drought. 

Teaching Materials

User note: To make an editable copy of the teaching materials in Google Drive, select File > “Make a copy”. This will make a copy for you to save to your own drive and edit as you see fit.


In this lesson, students will investigate the causes, effects, and impacts of drought in Colorado.

  • Part 1 – Engage (20 minutes) Drought in Colorado 

As a class, watch videos about drought in Colorado, and have a class discussion on what students know and wonder about drought.

  • Part 2 – Explore (50 minutes) Drought & Case Study Data Analysis

In teams, analyze drought information and data to build understanding of the causes, impacts, location, and frequency of drought in Colorado.

  • Part 3 – Explain (65 minutes) Local Drought News Story

In teams, create a communication product educating your community about the causes and impacts of drought, past and current drought status, and tips on preparing and responding to drought.



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