• hannahroberts34

Building a Miniature Watershed



A watershed is an area of land that divides flowing water such as streams, snowfall, and rainfall to different seas, basins, or rivers. How did you use water today? Did you water your lawn, brush your teeth, wash your dishes, take a shower, wash your car, bath your dog?? Where does all of that water come from? Ultimately, the water comes from rain or snow which falls on a watershed and is then channeled into a body of water. This watershed activity will show how pollutants that are added to your water flow will end up in the oceans and rivers.


What you will need:

  • Large plastic or tin tray

  • 4 tall containers (soda cans, glasses, condiment containers, bottles, etc.)

  • large sheet of plastic (shower curtain, tarp, or cut-open garbage bag)

  • Spray bottle

  • 2 different colors of food coloring

  • Cooking oil

  • Glitter, large flake spices, sprinkles, small pieces of shredded paper to represent litter

  • Towel

Part 1: Building the Watershed

  1. Add the various sized containers to one side for the tray creating a downhill effect

  2. Use the plastic sheet to drape over the containers creating irregular peaks, valleys, and ridges

  3. Look for the hills, mountains, and valleys that you have created using the containers and think about what will happen when you add water.

Part 2: Add Water

  1. Sprinkle the “litter” in various parts of the tray. The sprinkles represent animal waste from farms, glitter represents pesticides, large spice flakes as toxic chemicals, and the small pieces of paper as garbage. Add each piece of litter in its own section so you can tell where each ends up once water is added.

  2. Add droplets of the food coloring around the tray as well. One-color should represent motor oil and the other color as various chemicals that are dumped.

  3. Start spritzing the water as if it is raining over your watershed tray.

  4. You will start seeing where the water and the pollution end up!

© 2020 by North Alabama Zoological Society