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Water Science: Waterfalls

Waterfalls are some of the most beautiful and fascinating natural phenomena on our planet. They are mesmerizing in both their formation and their operation, and this natural allure lends itself to the organization of a wonderful unit study featuring science, geography, and the use of natural resources. Check out this Homeschool Living for some great ideas for a water science homeschool unit study. Learn how waterfalls come to be and how they can be used to generate power, experiment with hands-on water science activities, and explore the natural world around you!

Waterfall Activities

This mini waterfall activity makes use of natural elements you can find in your backyard. Collecting the stones, sticks, pinecones, and more is half the fun of this simple project.

This is an activity that can easily appeal to older and younger students. The activity guide is geared toward students in grade four, but is a great project for a wide range of ages. Note: to download the full project instructions, you do need to submit an email address to create a free account.

For a less messy–and drier!–hands-on activity, try creating this waterfall diorama. This is a great project for artistic students, and provides an opportunity to tie in geography and a bit of engineering. These dioramas can be created entirely from the students’ imaginations, or you can have them look up famous waterfalls around the globe and create a replica of their favorites.

Waterfalls in our World

There’s more to waterfalls and their formation that you might initially think. This mini-geology lesson does a great job of explaining how waterfalls are formed and gives examples of waterfalls in various stages of development around the world. This is a great resource with some good visuals, so it can be very useful in constructing your unit study.

It’s lots of fun to look at pictures and videos of famous, beautiful waterfalls in different parts of the world, and that can definitely be a great way to experience things you might not see in person. But, since many of us won’t ever get to visit those places in person, they can be a bit unrelatable. There are a host of beautiful waterfalls right here in our own state that deserve some attention–and a visit if you can! Check out “Discovering Virginia’s Waterfalls” on the state website for a list of waterfalls by area, hiking guides, trail lengths, difficulty ratings, pictures and descriptions of the falls, and more.

Waterfalls do more than create beautiful landscapes. There are a variety of ways in which the strength of the water can be harnessed and used to generate power. Learn how here.

This falling water experiment is a great way to demonstrate the energy of falling water, and does not require much in the way of supplies. The lesson overview includes learning objectives, important vocabulary, assessment questions, and an engineering tie-in.

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