Flood Recurrence Intervals
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection
This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: May 19, 2012
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Following completion of this activity, students should be able to:
- define the terms "recurrence interval" and "flood stage"
- calculate recurrence intervals given peak flow data for a particular stream
- calculate annaul flood exceedance probability
- determine land area covered by floodwater on a topographic map given the river flood stage and discharge values
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
In this lab, students calculate recurrence intervals for various flood records on a portion of the Kickapoo River in southwest Wisconsin based on historical data obtained from a gaging station on the Kickapoo River maintained by the USGS. The historical data is accessed from the USGS Water Resources Division . Students create Excel tables to calculate discharge ranks, recurrence intervals, and annual exceedence probablilities. The students use the data they generate in order to create a recurrence interval graph and to map the extent of a flood event.
Student Handout (Microsoft Word 85kB Jun11 13)
Map of Gays Mills (Microsoft Word 229kB May19 12)