Cutting Edge > Courses > Geomorphology > Teaching Activities > Life of a river from headwaters to the sea

Life of a river from headwaters to the sea

Carla Grandy
,
City College of San Francisco
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This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process.

This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.


This page first made public: May 9, 2008

Summary

This is an in class activity to demonstrate to students typical features associated with streams in different topographic settings from headwaters to the mouth of the stream.

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Context

Audience

This activity is used in an introductory earth science course for non-majors.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students need a basic knowledge of erosional and depositional processes in fluvial environment and a basic understanding of river systems.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is a stand-alone exercise to help students understand fluvial systems.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

The concept goals of this exercise are (1) help students to connect fluvial landforms with the topographic setting in which they occur and (2) helpt ehm to understand the forces affecting fluvial systems.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

The exercise is a virtual fly through of a river system from its headwaters in the mountains to its mouth at the ocean. As a classroom activity we travel (via satellite images) through a stream system and observe the changes in gradient, stream channel pattern, discharge, and depositional and erosional features. Students are able to observe the topographic settings in which various fluvial systems form.
Designed for a geomorphology course
Integrates geomorphology into a core course in geology
Designed for an introductory geology course
Uses online and/or real-time data
Has minimal/no quantitative component

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