Strand V
Use Scientific Knowledge from the Earth and Space Sciences in Real-World Contexts


Science/Strand V
Content Standard 2
All students will describe the characteristics of water and demonstrate where water is found on Earth; describe how water moves; and analyze the interaction of human activities with the hydrosphere. (Hydrosphere)


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 2
Middle School


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 2/Middle School
Benchmark 2
Describe how water in Michigan reaches the oceans and returns.

Benchmark Clarification

Water cycles through the environment from the atmosphere to the biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere and back again to the atmosphere. Water flows from Michigan to the AtlanticOcean and then returns to Michigan through the atmosphere.

Students will:

  • Describe how water in Michigan reaches the ocean through surface run-off, creeks, streams, and rivers
  • Describe how water returns to Michigan in the form of precipitation through the water cycle

Key Concept / Real World Context / Instructional Example / Assessment Example / Resources


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 2/Middle School/Benchmark 2
Key Concept
Water path:

  • Surface run-off
  • creeks
  • streams
  • wetlands
  • rivers
  • Great Lakes

See Water cycle (SCI.V.3.MS.3).

See About groundwater (SCI.V.2.MS.3).


  • snowmelt
  • rainfall


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 2/Middle School/Benchmark 2
Real World Context

  • maps showing:
    • streams
    • lakes
    • rivers
    • oceans
  • examples of direction of travel by water in rivers and lakes
  • investigations of river and lake temperatures

Examples of groundwater:

  • springs
  • wells
  • water soaking into the ground


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 2/Middle School/Benchmark 2
Instructional Example

Benchmark Question: How does water move?

Focus Question: What path does water in Michigan take when it flows toward the ocean?

Students will examine maps of North America, the U.S., the Great Lakes Basin, the State of Michigan, and their local area. On the U.S map, students will highlight major rivers and tributaries from Michigan to the Atlantic Ocean; on the state map they will highlight major rivers. Students will also study a topographic map of their local area in Michigan and determine the direction of flow for major streams in their area. Students will work together to determine the paths that water takes from Michigan to reach the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. They will use arrows to show this path on a United States map.

Constructing: (SCI.I.1.MS.3), (SCI.I.1.MS.5), (SCI.I.1.MS.6).

Reflecting: (SCI.II.1.MS.3), (SCI.II.1.MS.5).


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 2/Middle School/Benchmark 2
Assessment Example

The teacher will give each group of students a set of laminated maps to study locations of large bodies of water as well as rivers, streams, etc. To determine direction of flow of streams and rivers, students will check elevation by using a topographic map of the area. Each student will describe the path that water takes in written form (story, essay, or poem) and present his or her description to the class.

(Give students rubric before activity.)

Scoring Rubric

This is a pass/fail activity. Three out of four equals a pass.


1. Student identifies origin and final location of water.

2. Student traces a plausible path from origin to ocean.

3. Student writes and explains his or her reasoning for the path.

4. Student presents findings and communicates his or her rationale to the class.


Science/Strand V/Content Standard 2/Middle School/Benchmark 2


The Michigan Watershed Homepage: links to Michigan watershed information, educational resources, and more.

Sharing Michigan's Watersheds it's Everyone's Business: Information for upper elementary level students about water and Michigan's watersheds.

Crowder, Jane. Water Matters- Volume 3- Oceans, Watersheds & Hazardous Waste. NSTA, 1999.

River Cutters. GEMS.

Water Cycle/ Oceanography. Bill Nye Video. Disney Educational. (800/295-5010).

Water Precious Water. AIMS.