Keywords: watershed, ground water, surface water, buffer strip; Lesson Plan Grade Level: ninth grade; Total Time Required for Lesson: one class period; Setting: introductory lesson

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will be able to identify and remember the six major drainage systems in Pennsylvania.

Materials Needed

Teaching Model: Robert J. Marzano's Dimension's of Learning: Dimension 2 : Acquiring and Integrating Knowledge

Subjects Covered: agriculture, science, Pennsylvania geography

Topics Covered: This is an introductory lesson on watersheds with emphasis on the six major drainage systems found in Pennsylvania.


  1. Have students read From the Woods: Watersheds .
  2. Have students read the preface to PA Fish and Boat Commission's Pennsylvania Fishes book and/or Six Ways to the Sea .
  3. Ask students to name the six major watersheds or river systems found in Pennsylvania (this information is depicted graphically in each of the readings)
  4. Give them the following acronym, which not only helps them remember the six watersheds but also puts them in order from largest to smallest in area covered:

    SODPEG S= Susquehanna O= Ohio D= Delaware P= Potomac E= Lake Erie G= Genesee

  5. As a follow-up activity they can look on the preface page 2 of the Pennsylvania Fishes Book and look at the counties or portions of counties that comprise each of the watersheds.
  6. Six Ways to the Sea by Linda Steiner, a PA Fish and Boat Commission publication, is another great source. See worksheet.
  7. For those of you that teach earth and space and land formations there is a nice color map showing the physiographic provinces in Pennsylvania with the counties designated so this could be a nice tie-in.


  1. Quiz on readings Six Ways to the Sea and preface to Pennsylvania Fishes.
  2. Watersheds quiz on the six watersheds in order by area drained.


Steiner, Linda. Six Ways to the Sea . PA Fish and Boat Commission .

Swistock, Bryan, and Sanford Smith (2001). From the Woods: Watersheds. University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

Pennsylvania Fishes . PA Fish and Boat Commission .


Appendix A: Worksheet to accompany reading of Six Ways to the Sea

Appendix B: Key to worksheet


Bob Lauffer, Garden Spot High School