Smarty Pants News

Episode 1: Watersheds, Runoff & Pollution


NGSS Alignment


  • ESS2.C: Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes

    • 2-ESS2.C: Water is found in the ocean, rivers, lakes, and ponds. Water exists as solid ice and in liquid form.

    • 5-ESS2.C: Nearly all of Earth's available water is in the ocean. Most fresh water is in glaciers or underground; only a tiny fraction is in streams, lakes, wetlands, and the atmosphere.

    • MS-ESS2.C: Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land.

  • LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans

    • 3-LS4.D Populations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affects the organisms living there.


  • Cause and Effect

  • Scale, Proportion, and Quantity

  • Systems and System Models

  • Stability and Change

California's Environmental Principles & Concepts

  • Principle II Concept B: Methods used to extract, harvest, transport, and consume natural resources influence the geographic extent, composition, biological diversity, and viability of natural systems.

  • Principle III Concept A: Natural systems proceed through cycles and processes that are required for their functioning.  

  • Principle III Concept B: Human practices depend upon and benefit from the cycles and processes that operate within natural systems.

  • Principle III Concept C: Human practices can alter the cycles and processes that operate within natural systems.

  • Principle IV Concept B: The byproducts of human activity are not readily prevented from entering natural systems and may be beneficial, neutral, or detrimental in their effect.

EEI Alignment

  • 5.3.a Earth's Water: Students learn about the water cycle, availability of fresh water, salinity and density of water, and the interaction of humans with freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems.

  • 5.3.d Our Water: Sources and Uses: Students identify sources of fresh water and describe the reservoirs of Earth’s water and the variations in the ten hydrological regions of California.


  • Precipitation: rain, snow, sleet, or hail that falls to the ground

  • Runoff: rain that does not evaporate or soak into the ground

  • Reservoir: a place where water is collected and stored

  • Wastewater: used water (often called sewage)

  • Storm water: water from a rain storm that washes off roads and roof tops

  • Watershed: an area of land where all of the water that falls on it or drains off of it goes into a particular body of water

Relevant Lesson Plans: