Learn with Hanford Mills

Understanding the Water Cycle & Watershed: Pre-visit




Learn about the role of land use and the water cycle in keeping watersheds active.


Students will read about watersheds and draw on their knowledge of the water cycle to analyze and interpret a map of the watershed that supplies the power at the Hanford Mills Museum.



  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Class Time: 30 minutes


  • Review the water cycle with your class using the water cycle diagram.
    • Using the websites provided, define and discuss watersheds with the class. You may choose to use this as an on-line research opportunity, or you may choose to have a discussion about it in the class.

    • Information about the water cycle and its various stages and their explanations from the USGS website What is the water cycle?: http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/watercyclesummary.html
    • Science in Your Watershed: Student can try to find Hanford Mills Museum’s watershed using this website or you may use the map included with this activity.
    • Questions to ask:

    • What is a watershed?
    • From where does the water in a watershed come?
    • How does the water cycle contribute to watersheds?
    • What watershed is your community part of?


  • Participation in class discussion (listening and speaking)

NYS Learning Standards:

  • ELA Standard 1
  • Math, Science and Tech. Standard 4
  • Social Studies Standard 3

Vocabulary & Spelling Words:

Water cycle – n. a continuous cycle where water evaporates, travels into the air and becomes part of a cloud, falls to earth as precipitation, and then evaporates again.

Watershed – n. the region or area drained by a river, stream, etc.; drainage area.