Keywords: streams, springs, wetlands, rivers, and runoff, ground water; Lesson Plan Grade Level: ninth through twelfth grade; Total Time Required for Lesson: 90 minutes; Setting: Lycoming Creek at Cogan Station, PA, to Susquehanna River in the Newberry section of Williamsport, PA

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of how watershed systems are made up.

  • Students will explore a part of the Susquehanna watershed system and map out the system.

  • Students will be able to explain how water enters a watershed system.

  • Students will be able to explain the concept of stream order and identify the order of watercourses in our area.

Materials Needed

  • plain white drawing paper 18 inches x 24 inches

  • maps of Pennsylvania and Maryland

  • topographical map of Lycoming County

  • watersheds handbook

State Standards Addressed: E & E Standards: Watersheds and Wetlands (4.1.10, 4.1.12)

Subjects Covered: forestry, map making, social studies

Topics: water systems, geography, recreation, water usage


  1. Show class a video recording depicting the order of a watershed system. The 15-minute video will be shown the day before this lesson. (I filmed this myself).

  2. Read over handout on watersheds and highlight map areas along the Susquehanna River.

  3. Travel along the route we will be exploring and mark out where we will be stopping.


"For today's lesson we will be exploring the part of the Susquehanna watershed system, which originates about 200 yards north of our school. We will travel along this watershed mapping it as we travel to where Lycoming creek empties into the Susquehanna River. As we travel along the watershed record your observations of the different types of terrain, the speed of the water moving through the watershed, how the water is being used are some examples of what you should be looking for."

Doing the Activity

  1. Have the class get out the Watershed handbook and review how a watershed is formed. (Write the keywords on the board and review these words with the class.

  2. Pass out maps to the class and go over the state maps and have the class highlight the route of the Susquehanna River. Use the topographical map to show the route the class will be exploring.

  3. We will leave the building and walk to an area where spings are percolating out of the ground and forming into an order one stream. The class will start making their maps here they will start the maps at the upper left hand corner of the paper explain the are doing this because we will be traveling in a south easterly direction. We will follow the stream down the mountain to where it flows into a wetland area. From the wetland area we will follow the stream where it empties into Lycoming creek.

  4. We will get into the school vans and follow the creek stopping at six different points along the way and observing and mapping out what is happening along the creek as it moves towards the river. We will travel to Susquehanna State Park and walk to where the creek empties into the river. The class will be observing the river and what activities are going on along the river.

  5. Our last stop will be at the Newberry section of the city of Williamsport where they will find a pumping station. Here water is being used from the river as part of the city water system.

  6. We will return to LA Sa Quik.


Students will be given time to complete their maps and write a short paper on their observations and the different ways in which the water was being used by the people of Williamsport.


Have the students share the information that they had learned from the lesson.


Anderson, David A. (1982). Forest and Forestry.


Robert C. Suehr, La Sa QUIK ( I.U. 17)