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New! Missouri Green Schools Program

Earth Quest: A game of Environmental Literacy

earth quest gameboard

Environmental Quizzes

K-2 biodiversity quiz

Coloring Sheets

channel catfish coloring sheet

Green Holidays Calendar

Lessons about Drought

MO Drought Map August 2018

Missouri Drought Conditions, August 2018. Almost all of the state is abnormally dry (yellow), 50% is experiencing severe drought (orange) and 25% of the state is in extreme drought conditions (red).

Age/Grade Level Abbreviations

Suggest other lessons and resources - email

Lessons | Curriculum | Books | Games | Videos | Movies | Stewardship | Links

Lessons - stand alone activities with specific learning objectives

The Warmth of the Sun - EE : K In this lesson, students will take a closer look at the sun and begin to recognize its critical function in heating and warming the air, land, and water that sustain our lives. This will involve drawing their attention to the basics of the heat around them and how the sun is the primary source of that warmth. They will then perform a number of indoor and outdoor activities that support the benchmark, and help to begin their identification of the sun as the natural, universal source of heat in the world. From the AAAS ScienceNet Links -

Experiencing the Weather - EE : K. Basic concepts about weather. Students watch or carry out weather demonstrations and record results in their weather books. Involved but comprehensive. From the Utah Education Network -

Weather Walks - EE: K to 2nd. Students will learn about weather by taking walks in various types of conditions: sunny, rainy, windy and snowy. Each type of walk includes language arts and literacy connections. From the Utah Education Network -

Nephelococcygia (Cloud Watching) - EE: 2nd (3 to 5 days of observation and recording). Students learn the various typse of clouds as well as the term and the act of nephelococcygia -- cloud watching. Includes book recommendations. From the UNC School of Education -

Weather Watchers - EE: 2nd (a week) This is a week long activity during which the students record the weather, track weather changes, and make predictions about future weather patterns. Needs computer access for each student. From the UNC School of Education -

Drought! - UE: 3rd-5th (about an hour, plus homework) Students learn to understand the importance of conserving water, and determine ways to decrease water use. City of Albuquerque

Witnessing Evaporation - UE, MS: 5th-7th (a week) During one week, students observe and measure (by weight) the ongoing evaporation of water in pans set up with different variables, and then assess what factors may affect evaporation. Variables include adding to the water an amount of soil and an amount of soil with growing plants. Teach Engineering -

Weather for the Day - UE: 5th. In this lesson, students will use previous knowledge and classroom resources to determine current weather conditions and temperature. Students should have previous instruction on specific weather conditions. From the UNC School of Education -

Meteorologists: Working with Data Analysis - MS : 6th (one or two class periods) Students will solve problems using integers, graphs and spreadsheets, and measures of central tendency. They will understand how these concepts apply to careers in meteorology. Includes handout " Life as a Meteorologist". From the UNC School of Education -

Faucet Flow Rate - MS: 6th-8th (hour) Understanding faucet flow rate is important in choosing steps to mitigate the effect of droughts. Students conduct experiments to determine the flow rate of faucets by timing how long it takes to fill gallon jugs. They do this for three different faucet flow levels (quarter blast, half blast, full blast), averaging three trials for each level. They convert their results from gallons per second (gps) to cubic feet per second (cfs). Teach Engineering -

River Flow Rate - MS: 5th-9th (field trip to nearby river) Students build on their understanding and feel for flow rates, as gained from the associated Faucet Flow Rate activity, to estimate the flow rate of a local river. The objective is to be able to relate laboratory experiment results to the environment. They use the U.S. Geological Survey website ( to determine the actual flow rate data for their river, and compare their estimates to the actual flow rate. Teach Engineering -

Hot, Hotter, Hottest - MS: 8th (2-3 hours) Students will evaluate NOAA weather maps used to determine drought conditions over time, discuss extreme drought as an impact of climate change, examine the impacts associated with drought and generate a cause and effect map about drought conditions and their impact on communities. (NOTE- this is the 9th lesson in the packet, it starts about 3/5 down the page) National Wildlife Federation Eco Schools Lessons -

Thirsty for Drought Relief - MS, HS: 6th-12th (1-2 hours) In this lesson, students research a variety of drought-related concerns, acting as part of a ‘drought preparedness taskforce.’ They then propose next steps for the government to take in case of drought and assess the viability of these proposals. The New York Times Learning Network -

In the California Drought, What Is My Role? - MS, HS: 7th-12th (1-2 class periods) California is currently experiencing an extreme drought as a result of low precipitation in 2012, record low precipitation in 2013 and a very dry 2014. This lesson asks students to think critically about the effects of drought, their personal water use, and how best to conserve water.


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Curriculum - multiple, connected and sequenced activities

Earth Labs Drought Unit - HS: 9th-12th. Students learn that when precipitation drops below normal, drought conditions can develop and economic, environmental, and social impacts can follow. The unit teaches students to interpret climate data to recognize the symptoms and evaluate the severity of drought. It helps them realize that drought can still devastate areas that have stable infrastructure and access to expensive technologies. The unit raises awareness of the need to be prepared to face drought conditions that may become more common as our planet warms. Science Education Research Center of Carleton College -

  1. Where's the Water
  2. What's a Watershed
  3. Normal Climate Patterns
  4. When Precipitation Patterns Change
  5. Droughts of the Past
  6. Drying of the American West
  7. Is Your Region Ready for a Drought?
  8. Drought Mitigation Trade-offs




Lessons | Curriculum | Books | Games | Videos | Movies | Stewardship | Links

Books - and other readings

Come on Rain! (fiction) - EE, UE - Karen Hesse - "Come on, rain!" Tess pleads to the sky as listless vines and parched plants droop in the endless heat. Up and down the block, cats pant while heat wavers off tar patches in the broiling alleyway. More than anything, Tess hopes for rain. And when it comes, she and her friends are ready for a surprising joyous celebration.... Through exquisite language and acute observation, Newbery medalist Karen Hesse recreates the glorious experience of a quenching rainstorm on a sweltering summer day. Jon J Muth's masterful and lyrical watercolors perfectly reflect the spirit of the text.

The Water Hole (fiction) - EE, UE - Graeme Base - The Water Hole has amazing illustrations. The pages have a water hole on each two page spreed. there is a cut out portion of the water hole adding depth to the picture. Different animals for different countries each visit to water hole. with each animal the number raises from one to ten. as the number of animals rise the water hole shrinks. There are animal hidden in the background. "As ever-growing number of animals visit a watering hole, introducing the number from one to ten, the water dwindles."

Skylark (fiction)- HS - Patricia Maclachlan - Sarah has come from Maine to marry Jacob, and be mother to Anna and Caleb. The family lives on the prairie on a sheep and wheat farm. The first summer they are together the land experiences a drought. Anna and Caleb are afraid that Sarah will leave them and go back to the sea because of the lack of water. As other families leave their farms, the weather threatens to tear this newly formed family apart. The book is told from young Anna's perspective, including her thoughts and worries about losing her new mother, and shows Sarah's desperation in this new situation, but also her determination to make it work.  

Grapes of Wrath (fiction)- HS to Adult - 1939 - John Steinbeck - Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. 

Ogallala: Water for a Dry Land (non-fiction) - HS to Adult - 2000 - John Opie - In this new, enlarged edition, John Opie updates his groundbreaking work on the environmental history of the Ogallala aquifer and plains farming. He addresses the impact of the 1996 Farm Bill (Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform Act) and looks at the recent movement of industrial hog farming onto the plains. Opie also develops his argument for the plains as a "moral geography", a view involving the recognition by society that it has an obligation to balance the responsibility for conserving natural resources with that for keeping a regional people -- the family farmers -- in operation. HS to Adult

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water (non-fiction) - HS to Adult - 1993 - Marc Reisner - The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. It is a tale of rivers diverted and dammed, of political corruption and intrigue, of billion-dollar battles over water rights, of ecologic and economic disaster. In Cadillac Desert Marc Reisner writes of the earliest settlers, lured by the promise of paradise, and of the ruthless tactics employed by Los Angeles politicians and business interests to ensure the city's growth. He documents the bitter rivalry between two government giants, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in the competition to transform the West.

The Worst Hard Time (non-fiction) - HS to Adult - Timothy Egan -  The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl. It’s not about the people who left the Great Plains in the 1930s, but the two-thirds who stayed. These were not folks who lived high on the hog. Instead, they’re naïve “sod-busters” who were sold a bill of goods by the federal government, greedy bankers, the railroads, and others who were out to make a buck off them.



Lessons | Curriculum | Books | Games | Videos | Movies | Stewardship | Links

Games - outdoor, on-line, board, etc.




Lessons | Curriculum | Books | Games | Videos | Movies | Stewardship | Links

Videos - short, topical on-line videos





Lessons | Curriculum | Books | Games | Videos | Movies | Stewardship | Links

Movies - feature length movies and documentaries

Grapes of Wrath (fiction) - 1940 - Director: John Ford - A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression. Based on the novel by John Steinbeck.

The Dust Bowl (documentary) - 2012 - Ken Burns - The Dust Bowl chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, in which the frenzied wheat boom of the "Great Plow-Up," followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation. Vivid interviews with twenty-six survivors of those hard times, combined with dramatic photographs and seldom seen movie footage, bring to life stories of incredible human suffering and equally incredible human perseverance. It is also a morality tale about our relationship to the land that sustains us—a lesson we ignore at our peril.


Lessons | Curriculum | Books | Games | Videos | Movies | Stewardship | Links

Stewardship Activities

11 Facts About Droughts - Do Something.Org - Welcome to, a global movement of 6 million young people making positive change, online and off! The 11 facts you want are below, and the sources for the facts are at the very bottom of the page. After you learn something, Do Something! Find out how to take action here.


Lessons | Curriculum | Books | Games | Videos | Movies | Stewardship | Links

Links to regional, state, national and international organizations

Missouri Climate Center - Up to date information about climate, rainfall and temperature in Missouri.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources- Drought website. Includes drought photos submitted by Missouri Citizens

National Integrated Drought Information System- Enter your zip code to see how your area is being affected by drought. Find out how many people in the US are experiencing drought and what percent of the land area is in drought.

Global Integrated Drought Monitoring and Prediction System - An interactive mapping system with data going back to 1980.

Land & Water: Drought - The Food and Agiculture Organization (FAO) background on global drought issues.

Drought Information and Resources - From the state of Nebraska, management planning for beef production, crop and agricultural irrigation resources during a drought, recycling graywater to conserve water, family finances during drought.


Lessons | Curriculum | Books | Games | Videos | Movies | Stewardship | Links

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Age/Grade Level Abbreviations