Pond Ecology: Water Writers

Post-Visit Activity, Grades 4+

Adapted from Instructor, "Trace Water to its Source," 1993, Lynne Kepler 


Students will write to other schools and students living along a common waterway, sharing observations about the vegetation and animals near the river, the health and future of the river, and things they can do to study the rive water (pH, speed of flow, etc.). 


  • Local maps
  • Camera and film
  • Writing paper
  • Phone book (for school addresses)


1.  Using the maps, have students identify a river or large stream near the school.  Trace the waterway to its source (where it begins).  The class should create a list of other towns and cities along the river's course, then choose a city and school with which to correspond.

2.  Conduct a filed trip to the river site.  Encourage the students to draw and/or photograph the area, sending these pictures along with the letters they will compose.  You site could inspire poetry, short stories, art work, etc.

3.  As a class, the students should discuss what information to include in the letter to be sent to the other school class.  Draft a letter with the purpose of contacting and exchanging information with this other class about the waterway.  Describe it in your area and ask questions about what it looks like in their area.  For example:

  • What does the stream look like in your area?
  • Is it wider or narrower?  (Be sure to describe it in your area)
  • What type of vegetation grows along the bank?
  • Are there many animals living near the river?
  • Are there industries alongside the river?
  • Does the water seem to be clean where you are?