Hydraulic Geometry in the Greys River Watershed
Idaho State University
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: Jul 28, 2008
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Following lectures regarding catchment hydrology and fluvial processes, students complete a two day field analysis of a watershed from headwaters to outlet, measuring fluvial parameters such as channel geometry, sediment character and discharge. Students synthesize this data to demonstrate where traditional scaling arguments work and where they break down.
UG/G course in Geomorphology
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Use of Excel and a brief introduction to GIS
How the activity is situated in the course
This is the first field exercise where students learn to take notes, survey and collect data efficiently and accurately in the field. Its is also the first time many of them analyze data that they collected and recognize the scatter inherent in field data.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Collect and analyze field data regarding channel geometry, bed sediment and water discharge.
Evaluate the strength of scaling relationship defined using only a handfull of data points.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Dealing with and drawing conclusions from imperfect data
Other skills goals for this activity
Survey and measurement skills in rivers.
Description of the activity/assignment
This introductory exercise allows students to evaluate predictions from hydraulic geometry, area-discharge scaling and downstream fining in a complex field environment. For many this is their first time collecting, entering, plotting and analyzing data.
Designed for a geomorphology course
Uses online and/or real-time data
Addresses student fear of quantitative aspect and/or inadequate quantitative skills
Determining whether students have met the goals
Students are evaluated on their field notes, their data entry and analysis, their mapped locations, and a final report (short-format scientific report).
More information about assessment tools and techniques.
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