Mapping a catchment
The aim of this activity is to use a topographic map to map the local catchment area.
Life and Living
3.3 Students describe some interactions (including feeding relationships) between living things and between living and non-living parts of the environment.
Place and Space
PS 2.4 Students use and make simple maps to describe local and major global features including oceans, continents and hot and cold zones.
Systems, Resources and Power
SRP 3.1 Students make inferences about interactions between people and natural cycles, including the water cycle.
Explanation of frames within photo story.
- a topographic map of the local area
- plastic overlay or tracing paper
- fine point, non-permanent overhead transparency (OHT) pens, or pencils.
Topographic maps may be purchased from local newsagents or bookstores.
A catchment area, or basin, is land bounded by natural features such as hills or mountains, from which all run-off water flows to a low point.
The boundary of a catchment, called the watershed, is a ridge that follows the highest points around the creek or river. The Using topographic maps fact sheet (PDF, 166K)* provides helpful information on identifying which catchment you are in.
Time: 45 minutes
Explain to the students that the purpose of the activity is to learn how to locate the local catchment area on a topographic map.
Ask the students questions such as:
Who uses topographic maps? (defence forces, the department, tourists, orienteers, bush walkers, miners, police, farmers, shire councils, Main Roads Department, etc)
Why do people use them and what purpose do they have? (to show where features are in the landscape, to give directions, to find the best route from one place to another etc)
Who makes topographic maps? (cartographers who work for the department or other organisations)
Focus on the purpose for using the map today; that is to identify the school catchment area.
Display topographic maps of your local area. Discuss scale and how it is used in this map.
Using a non-permanent OHT pen or pencil (in case you make a mistake) place your tracing paper over the topographic map and mark in any rivers or creeks that flow through your region.
Using the pen or pencil draw a dotted line to outline the catchment boundary (watershed) for your local creeks.
Referring to the catchment map, ask the students to complete the sentences below.
The topographic map that includes the area in which I live is ..................
I live in the ................... creek/river catchment.
My school is in the ............... catchment.
The land use activities that happen in my catchment are ............
The natural resource uses within my catchment are .............
Students identify other catchment areas and use an atlas to list the natural resources used within the catchment.
Students present this to the class.
Gathering information about student learning
Sources of information could include:
- anecdotal notes about any student alternative conceptions or alterations to previous conceptions
- examples of student work - cloze answers.
* Requires Adobe Reader
Last reviewed 3 September 2010
Last updated 16 June 2008