Teach the Earth > Geomorphology > Teaching Activities > Stream Surveying

Stream Surveying

Karen Williams
Montana State University
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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 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: Apr 28, 2008


This is a multi-week field activity to teach basic stream surveying using FS methods, and using the collected data to calculate basic hydrologic and hydraulic parameters.

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Undergrad water resources

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

basic math

How the activity is situated in the course

Multi-week activity, building aupon previous field activities.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

measuring and characterizing basic channel morphology

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

collection and analysis of data

Other skills goals for this activity

basic surveying

Description of the activity/assignment

The class breaks into groups of 3-4. Each week we go out to the same stream channel, and perform the stream survey activities in the USFS Harrelson document, one chapter per week. After the snow flies, collected data are used to calculate channel hydrologic and hydraulic data such as bankfull flow and critical shear stress.
Designed for a geomorphology course

Determining whether students have met the goals

Each group turns in a field book of the collected data, and uses collected data to answer questions.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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