Unit 4: Water


Unit 4 is a two-part unit focusing on the importance of water and erosion to the ag producer. Part one (4a) discusses the water cycle, water storage, and erosion in the inland Pacific Northwest. Part two (4b) focuses on scientific, computer-based models and how one specific model was created.

The goals for this unit are for students to be able to explain the integrated relationship between soil, water, and erosion, and to explore scientific models, a key component of the Next Generation Science Standards.

Unit Placement in the Course: 

This unit is an extension of the foundational unit on soils (Unit 3). It also complements Unit 2: Cropping Systems & Sustainability.

Required Supplies: 

Soil Infiltration Lab (per group, group size of 2 recommended):

  • Aluminum bread pan (inner pan)
  • Sturdy bread pan slightly larger than disposable (catch pan)
  • 12 oz. soda bottle with holes in the lid
  • Soil sample(s)
  • 400 mL beaker (or similar measuring container)
  •  2 Binder clips
  • Ruler

Erosion Modeling Lab

  • Computers with internet access
Full Supply List...


Materials Provided: 

  • Two PowerPoint Presentations
  • Two classroom lab activities
  • Teacher notes on most slides to help guide class discussion.
  • Readings on water and erosion, with emphasis on the role of water in the West.

Estimated Teaching Time: 

  • Four 50-minute class periods.
  • Several teachers reported using this unit for two weeks, including additional lab activities. Please see the curriculum outline for suggestions.