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Overview: The Big Water Questions

Each of the three RiverXchange® curriculum units features hands-on activities that reinforce one or more key water concepts known as The Big Water Questions.  These questions are intentionally broad — such as Is every place in the world part of a watershed? — to encourage students to reach for deeper meaning.

Each broad question can then be followed by one or more specific questions — such as What is a watershed?  Where does your river start?  Into what ocean does your river eventually flow?  How much precipitation does your community receive each year? The Big Water Questions are often used by teachers to prompt reflection after each presentation, as they can be asked multiple times and sometimes even elicit new answers. Additionally the Big Water Questions can be used as prompts for determining the issue of concern for the Action Project. 

The Big Water Questions help students to meet the RiverXchange® learning objectives and demonstrate competency in the science standards, but ultimately they are the foundation for becoming critical thinkers, problem solvers and water protectors!

Understanding a Watershed 
  • Is every place in the world part of a watershed?
  • What are the living and nonliving elements of your watershed?
  • Where does the Rio Grande begin and end?
  • Where does your community’s stormwater go?
  • How can surface water become polluted?
  • What is the difference between run-off and infiltration?
  • What actions can all of us take to keep water clean?
Water in Our Society 
  • In what ways does our society use water?
  • Where does your community’s drinking water come from?
  • What are ways your community uses science to protect and conserve water?
  • Where does your community’s wastewater go?
  • What actions can all of us take to conserve water?
River Ecosystem 
  • How do changes in water quality and availability affect living things in our ecosystem?
  • What role does the Bosque play in our watershed?
  • What role do soil and wetlands play in our watershed?
  • What are some of the ways scientists can determine the health of the Rio Grande?
  • What actions can all of us take to improve the health of our river ecosystem?
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