Changes along Fountain Creek, Colorado (1989-2006)
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection
This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: Jul 11, 2011
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
A principal component of the assignment is an analysis of repeat air photos, so a general understanding of air photos and/or satellite imagery is needed, as well as recognizing features such as rivers, roads, lines of trees. Most students have this basic knowledge, but what needs to be emphasized are aspects such as scale and image resolution.
Students are asked to produce a map requiring the use of trace paper/Mylar, or software such as ArcGIS, Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, or Paint. Since this assignment may follow previous assignments introducing ArcGIS software and techniques, detailed instructions for the new and additional skills needed for doing this assignment in ArcGIS are provided.
How the activity is situated in the course
This is an assignment/project designed to be introduced during lab and continued for homework. The technical aspects of the assignment require class/lab time.
In an earth surface process course, this assignment is designed to take place during the river, or fluvial, part of the semester. It also usually comes after a discussion/lecture/exercise on flood frequency, as there is USGS gaging station just upstream of the study site that may be useful in the analysis.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Making a Map
Alluvial River Behavior and Meander Bends
* Patterns of erosion and deposition
* Point bars
* Bank stability (natural and man-made)
* The influence of large floods
* River avulsion
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Identifying and quantifying rates of change
Formulation of hypotheses and methodology
Synthesis of ideas and concepts
Other skills goals for this activity
Emphasizing the use of historical air photos
Applying GIS techniques in earth surface processes
Description of the activity/assignment
Determining whether students have met the goals
-The map is evaluated based on it quality, accuracy and completeness (including essential map elements such as legend and scale).
-The measurements and calculations are evaluated based on their accuracy and presentation (plots, tables, etc.).
-The summary discussion and final questions are evaluated based the whether they synthesize the ideas and concepts associated with alluvial river behavior and meander bends with what they see and present in their map and how they put words to what they measure in terms of change.
Download teaching materials and tips
- Assignment Details -- Longer Fountain Creek Assignment Instructions (Acrobat (PDF) 105kB Jun6 11)
Air Photo Set --Air Photos cropped with SCALE (Zip Archive 27.9MB Jun6 11)
Air Photo Set -- Air Photos cropped with NO SCALE (Zip Archive 18.2MB Jun6 11)
**For higher resolution versions of the air photos (containing a slightly larger area) to use with the optional GIS part, please contact author (email@example.com) -- file size is 55 Mb
- Optional Pieces for GIS Incorporation -- Optional GIS Data and Instructions (Zip Archive 8.3MB Jun6 11)
- Useful images and slides --Fountain Creek SLIDES (Acrobat (PDF) 1.4MB Jun6 11)
Not a full solution set, but a bunch of useful slides and photos for grading and understanding the assignments. A 1.4MB Acrobat (PDF) file.