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Analyzing a Drainage Basin to Understand Flooding and Erosion Problems: K-16 Student Levels

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Paul K Grogger University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
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This is a partially developed activity description. It is included in the collection because it contains ideas useful for teaching even though it is incomplete.

The use of hands-on/minds-on investigation of flowing water with flooding and erosion mitigation the focus. Students from kindergarten to graduate students have completed the investigation.
GSA Poster (Acrobat (PDF) 3.5MB Nov5 04)

Learning Goals

The process of flowing water in a specific drainage basin.

Geologic Skills:
Determining the energy of water. How to measure variuos elements of stream flow. Be able to develop solutions and mitigation of flooding and erosion problems. Developing field analysis techniques.

Higher Order Thinking Skills:
Draw conclusions from individually collected data. Develop answers to complex geomorphological problems.

Other Skills:
Matnematical analysis, written solutions, Graphical presentations.


Instructional Level:
All levels; however, the level determines the sophistication of the work accomplished.

Skills Needed:
Mental math, writing ability, an open mind, able to withstand any type of weather.

Role of Activity in a Course:
A one-day conclusion to class and laboratory work which develops an understanding of flowing water.

Data, Tools and Logistics

Required Tools:
Topographic maps and aerial photographs, measuring equipment of different types, i.e., tape measures, GIS, survey equipment, flow meters.

Logistical Challenges:
Severe weather and physical disabilities of some students.


Evaluation Goals:
Have they enjoyed the field work? What specific abilities did they develop? What concepts and processes were learned?

Evaluation Techniques:
Evaluations of the specific learning that occurred.


Students investigate a specific drainage basin and complete an investigation that includes a 100-year flood analysis, erosion problems alond the streams within the drainage, actual measurements of the maximum water flow in the various channels, and the development of solutions to the flooding and the erosion problems.

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