Keyah Math > Activities > Snow Melt and Stream Flow in the Animas River (Advanced)

Snow Melt and Stream Flow in the Animas River (Advanced)

Kéyah Math Project development team: Nancy Zumoff, Christopher Schaufele, Steven Semken, Tracy Perkins, Lynn Onken, Philippe Laval, David Gonzales, and Andrew Becenti (deceased).
Kéyah Math Project directed by Steven Semken , Arizona State University; and Christopher Schaufele and Nancy Zumoff, Professors of Mathematics, Emeritus.
Archived at Arizona State University ( This site may be offline. ) School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Summary

This activity consists of a set of problems in which students explore the contributions of water from rainfall and snowmelt over the watershed of the Animas River in southwestern Colorado. Students first compute the area of the watershed (which can be done either graphically or by means of Google Earth), then use climatic data to calculate the relative volumes of water from rainfall and snowmelt. This information is then used to determine streamflow in the Animas River.

Click here to view the full activity on the Kéyah Math Project website.

Learning Goals

Version 1
    Objectives
  • Using temperature and precipitation data provided, compute the average amount of water that rain contributes to the Animas River watershed.
  • Using temperature and precipitation data, compute the average amount of water that snowmelt contributes to the Animas River watershed.
  • Determine the total volume of water contributed to the watershed each month.
  • Use data provided to predict average streamflow in the Animas River.

  • Mathematical Skills
  • Solve linear equations.
  • Compute area and volume.
  • Convert units.

Version 2
    Objectives
  • Use Google Earth to determine the boundary of the Animas River watershed.
  • Determine the area of the watershed.
  • Using temperature and precipitation data provided, compute average amount of water that rain contributes to the Animas River watershed.
  • Using temperature and precipitation data, compute the average amount of water that snowmelt contributes to the Animas River watershed.
  • Determine the total volume of water contributed to the watershed each month.
  • Use data provided to predict average streamflow for the Animas River.

  • Mathematical Skills
  • Solve linear equations.
  • Determine locations on a map given latitude and longitude.
  • Compute area and volume.
  • Convert units.

Context for Use

This activity consists of a set of quantitative problem-solving exercises that can be used as an in-class activity or an assignment in any course with a unit on water resources or stream processes, such as:
  • Physical geology or physical geography
  • Environmental geology or resource geology
  • Earth system science
  • Introductory meteorology, climatology, or hydrogeology

Description and Teaching Materials

Teaching Notes and Tips

An Instructor's Guide to all Kéyah Math activities is available online from the Instructor Resources page on the Kéyah Math website.

Assessment

Students record their work and answers in a word-processor document or a notebook, which can be submitted to the instructor for assessment. Solutions to these problems are available online from the Instructor Resources page on the Kéyah Math website.

References and Resources

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