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Photo by Grant Durr via Unsplash

Database Provider


TERC, Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College (SERC)


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography

Resource Types

  • Activity - Classroom
  • Articles and Websites
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables
  • Interactive Media
  • Lesson Plans

Regional Focus

North America


Microsoft Excel

Drought Unit Labs

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  • This group of eight interactive labs teaches students about the causes of droughts, how we can reduce the impacts of droughts, and learn about technologies that can reduce water stress.
  • Students will learn about where water resources exist, what a watershed is, historic droughts, and drought mitigation.
Teaching Tips


  •  The lab overviews section identifies all of the materials you'll need to gather and provides a quick scope and sequence of the unit. Key questions and learning objectives are also outlined.
  • Students may be surprised learning about the Dust Bowl, imagining sand dunes covering huge parts of the plains.

Additional Prerequisites:

  • Review teacher resources for general background information relevant to each lab.
  • Connect the human actions that make droughts worse with solutions that can be accomplished through human actions as well.


  • Advanced students can do some of the lab sections independently or in groups.
  • Students that live in the Western U.S. can look for local information about droughts that connects these labs to their city or state.
  • As an extension, have students research solutions to water scarcity such as solar-powered desalination that incorporate climate solutions and water solutions.
Scientist Notes
This resource is phenomenal to provide understanding to students to interpret climate data and predict drought events. In this resource, please note that photo from NOAA has no location and year it was shot. This resource is recommended

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
      • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
      • HS-ESS3-5. Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth’s systems.
      • HS-ESS3-6. Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
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