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Stream Flow in the Animas River

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 School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Summary

This activity consists of a set of problems in which students explore a simplified method for predicting streamflow in the Animas River in southwestern Colorado. Students first compute the area of the watershed (either graphically or by means of Google Earth), then use precipitation data to calculate the volume of water contributed to the watershed. This information is then used to determine the annual streamflow.

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

Learning Goals

Version One

Objectives

  • Given the average amount of precipitation, determine the volume of water contributed to the Animas River watershed.
  • Use data provided to predict average streamflow in the Animas River.

    Mathematical Skills
  • Compute area and volume.
  • Convert units.

    Version Two

    Objectives

  • Use Google Earth to determine the boundaries of the Animas River watershed.
  • Determine the area of the watershed.
  • Given the average amount of precipitation, determine the volume of water contributed to the Animas River watershed.
  • Use data provided to predict average streamflow in the Animas River.

    Mathematical Skills
  • 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

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    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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