Lesson 3: From the Gulf to the World


The Gulf of Mexico

Lesson 3 Vocabulary
Ocean Basin
The land surface under the surface of the water in the ocean
Businesses that process raw materials and make things in factories

It has been a long journey down the Mississippi River, and you have learned a lot about water and the water crisis in general. You have seen how the fresh water that started in Lake Itasca can become polluted by many sites, industries, people and other factors along the way. At the end of its 2,350-mile journey, the river meets the Gulf of Mexico.

The Gulf of Mexico is an ocean basin that is largely surrounded by the North American continent. The states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida border the Gulf on the north. It is also bordered by Mexico and Cuba. Formed approximately 300 million years ago, the basin is roughly 810 miles wide and can contain nearly 660 quadrillion gallons of water. (Think about the gallon bottle of milk you may have in your refrigerator at home. Now imagine 660 quadrillion of those. That is a lot of water!)

While the Gulf is technically the end of the Mississippi River, it can also be considered an entry point to both the Atlantic and Caribbean Seas. In fact, you could continue your journey down the Mississippi, through the Gulf of Mexico and across the ocean to nearly any part of the world—given that you had the right transportation to get you there!


Stories from around the world

Up to this point, you have focused on water as it travels along the Mississippi and how it affects people and communities near you and in the rest of the country. But as you reach the Gulf of Mexico, it is easy to see that the water issues we face in our nation are not unique to us. The water crisis is a global one and we are all connected—just like the waters that travel from the lake, to the river, and finally to the sea! What we do in our backyards impacts the world.

In a small group, you are going to read a story about the global water crisis. Your story may be about students like you in a local community or in a country far away.

Read the Assigned Story and Take Notes

Read and discuss the story with your group and collect notes in your Lesson Three Worksheet.


Complete your Lesson Three Travel Journal

Open your Water Guardians Travel Journal and complete the Lesson Three entry.

Up Next: Final Destination

You will now be challenged and encouraged to think about what you can do to create positive change. Your class has the opportunity to choose a partner school in another part of the world and dig deeper to learn more about their region and culture.