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Our Grandchildrens' Watershed

In this project, students investigate the health of our local watershed, do weekly service-learning through volunteering with Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition, and create a PSA to promote water quality awareness in our county.
Master & timeline

Master Plan & Timeline

Driving Question

How clean will your grandchildren’s water be if they live in Cherokee County?

Learning Objectives


  • Plant Identification

  • Inquiry-based Research

  • Video Editing

  • Collaboration


  • EEn 2.3.2: Explain how ground water and surface water interact

  • EEn 2.4.1: Evaluate human influences on freshwater availability.

  • EEn 2.4.2: Evaluate human influences on water quality in North Carolina’s river basins, wetlands and tidal environments.

  • EEn 2.7.2: Explain why biodiversity is important to the biosphere.

  • EEn 2.7.3: Explain how human activities impact the biosphere.

  • EEn 2.8.2: Critique conventional and sustainable agriculture and aquaculture practices in terms of their environmental impacts.

  • EEn 2.8.3: Explain the effects of uncontrolled population growth on the Earth’s resources.


Entry Event

Entry Event

October 20, 2015


Callie Moore, the Executive Director of the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition, will address our class with a “State of the Watershed” speech that will provide you with some background knowledge about our local water quality.  In preparation and in response to this speech, you will need to do the following:





  • Take notes during her presentation and see if she answers any of your questions.  If she does answer your questions, write down those answers.  If she doesn’t, make sure to ask them at the end of her presentation.

  • Write a half page essay on what parts of Callie’s presentation connected to our driving question.

Plant Walk

Plant Walk & Biodiversity

October 27, 2015


Tony Ward, Restoration Coordinator of  the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition will give us a tour of our local creek where he will teach us about riparian plants and invasive species.  This will frame the importance of our upcoming volunteer efforts.





  • Write a one page journal entry about how this walk and these readings connected to our driving question.

20 Questions

20 Questions

Introduction: October 22, 2015

Choose a topic: October 29,2015

Final Product: December 1, 2015


Students will spend half a class period sitting outside and writing down 20 questions about our watershed and its future.  Questions can focus on water quality, biodiversity, fishing, recreation, erosion, hydroelectricity and anything else that relates to the driving question. After writing their questions, they will choose a topic to investigate further within one week.  They will then research their topic and write a paper, create an art project, or do a presentation about their topic of interest.  Projects will be assessed by level of effort, connection to the driving question, and depth of research into the topic.


Any Final Product must meet the following criteria:

  • Somehow relates to our Watershed

  • At least 5 high quality sources cited

  • Answers the research question using evidence from multiple sources.  These sources can include data from the field from research your conduct.

  • Has some artifact to present to the class in a Gallery Walk or public presentation

  • Presentations should be 8-10 minutes and meet Prezi Rubric criteria

  • Research Papers should be at least 1000 words and meet the Research Paper Rubric Criteria

  • Hands-on lessons should be 8-10 minutes and meet the Student Lesson Rubric criteria


Interesting Final Product Ideas

Service Learning

Service Learning

Volunteering: November 3, 10, 17, 24

Service Learning Reflections: December 3, 2015


Students will volunteer with the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition to help restore the McComb Branch creek behind Tri-County Community College.  HRWC staff will guide us in invasive plant removal as part of a multi-year effort to improve this highly impacted creek.  



After volunteering on four Tuesdays in November, students will write a 1 page reflection on their volunteer work that addresses what they learned through their service, how they think their work will impact water quality and the health of the watershed.


FINAL PRODUCT: Public Service Announcement


Storyboard and Script due: November 19, 2015

Final Video Due: December 8, 2015

See Video Rubric

Students will put together a CREATIVE 30 second - 1 minute video about issues facing our watershed and how local people can help protect its future.  The video should assume that the viewers know nothing about our watershed and therefore should include the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of the issue in a CREATIVE, concise, and powerful message.


Read for more information on how to create an effective PSA.  


Watch for a video with ideas about how to create PSAs

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