El Rio Grande is a multi-disciplinary unit that studies the effects of the Rio Grande on the Rio Grande Valley. Lesson plans include Agua, Weather, Legends & Folklore, Field Guide, and Habitat. The activities in these lessons engage students in research, group work, information technology, and presentation.

The Rio Grande is an entire ecosystem. It has tremendous influences on the people, animals, and plants that live in the Rio Grande Valley. These lessons can be used by anyone interested in studying the Rio Grande. If used in distant classrooms, activities, research, and field trips can be adapted to local rivers and lakes.


Water in the desert is a precious commodity. In this lesson, students will create a multimedia presentation about the water cycle, graph water usage in the Mesilla Valley area, and create public service brochures on water conservation.

Student Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, the learner will:



No materials except as listed above



  1. Allow students one day to surf six web sites cited above. Have them do the quiz and questionnaires located on the Water Science for Schools web site to spark interest and provide some background knowledge.
  2. Ensure that all software programs and Internet connections are working properly.


  1. Students study information at the web sites listed in the Resources section.
  2. Students then do the Student Activity. (Optional but recommended)
  3. Students create graphs with water usage data for Mesilla Valley and US. Data should include at least 3 of the following areas: irrigation, public, domestic, commercial, livestock, and industrial water use for both surface and ground water.
  4. Students create a multimedia presentation describing the water cycle as it relates to the Mesilla Valley watershed (or your local area). Include a glossary with all key words.


See number 4 in Tasks


Teacher assessment of multimedia presentation and graphs. Suggested Rubric.


Graph data gathered from student surveys. Then, have students do "what if" water usage scenarios based on the population of the Mesilla Valley. For instance, what if people only showered for 5 minutes instead of 10? How much water would that save a day? A month? A year? Use formulas in spreadsheet program to arrive at answers and graph results.

Downloading Printing Files

These pages can be downloaded to your computer as files. Files can then be opened and printed. You can choose either Microsoft Word format or Portable Document Format.

Microsoft Word (.doc)

Agua Lesson
Agua Rubric for Presentations

Files in this format can be read, printed or edited using Microsoft Word.

Acrobat Reader (.pdf)

Agua Lesson
Agua Rubric for Presentations

Files in the .pdf format can be read or printed, but not edited using Acrobat Reader. Acrobat Reader is a free software. You can download it from the Adobe site.

NM Content Standards


4) Students will understand and use mathematical connections.


12) Students will know and understand properties of Earth Science.

Language Arts

5) Students will speak clearly and write effectively for a variety of audiences and purposes.

10) Students will use state-of -the-art computer technology to gather, use and synthesize information, and to create and communicate knowledge.