Surf's Up on Surface Water!

Contributor: Roxann Penny. Lesson ID: 12765

Did you know that most of your body, up to 60%, is made up of water? Most of the Earth's surface is water, too! It must be important! Learn about and experiment with what many of us take for granted!


Earth Science

learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Did you know that most of the Earth's surface is made up of water? That's right! There is more water on Earth than there is land. "Surf" into this lesson to learn more about surface water!

What is surface water?

Surface water is all the water found on the surface of the Earth. This includes:









Although there is more water on Earth than there is land, fresh water makes up only a very small portion of all of Earth's water. Fresh water is the water that you can safely drink. Rivers, lakes, streams, and ponds are a few examples of fresh water sources.

Surface water is supplied through rainfall and other forms of precipitation. Precipitation is any form of water that falls to Earth's surface from the atmosphere, like snow and hail. You should know that water can also be found beneath Earth's surface. This form of water is called "ground water," and it is not the same as surface water.

OK! Now it's time for some water trivia!

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Now, what would you say if you were asked to describe yourself to someone? You would probably mention your height, the color of your hair, or something about your personality. In other words, you would describe your personal characteristics or traits. In a similar manner, water also has specific characteristics. These characteristics are known as properties. The properties of water are:

  1. temperature
  2. salinity (say-len-eh-tee)
  3. dissolved nutrients
  4. turbidity (tur-be-deh-tee)

Select this interactive to learn more about the properties of water. Click on each term for its definition:

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When you are done reviewing the interactive, take a few minutes to discuss the following questions with your parent or teacher:

  1. Why is surface water a valuable resource?
  2. Why is it important to protect sources of surface water?
  3. How much fresh water do you think you use or consume daily?
  4. Do you think your daily water usage matters?

Watch The Properties of Water, from Odyssey Earth. It offers more insight into the properties of water:

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When you are finished viewing the video, share your impressions about it with your parent or teacher.

Water is essential to all living things. Although Earth's surface is mainly made up of an abundance of water, it is important that this water supply remain clean and free of pollution. What are you prepared to do to help protect Earth's surface water?

Think about this question as you move to the Got It? section of this lesson, but before you do that, try one final trivia question:

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Move on to the Got It? section to see if you got it!

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