Teach the Earth > Geomorphology > Teaching Activities > Watershed Analysis of Stream Morphology

Watershed Analysis of Stream Morphology

Holly Dolliver
University of Wisconsin - River Falls
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection

Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review 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: May 2, 2008


This activty provides students with an opportunity to qualitatively and quantitatively analyze stream morphology of a watershed.

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This activity was designed for an upper division undergraduate course in geomorphology.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

This activity assumes that students have a basic understanding of fluvial systems, stream patterns, and the Strahler stream classification method and morpometric relationships (ex. Law of Stream Numbers).

How the activity is situated in the course

The activity is used as a stand-alone lab exercise.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Delineation of a watershed boundary, stream ordering using the Strahler Method, intrepreting topographic maps, measuremeents using topographic maps, calculations of stream relationships

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Analysis and synthesis of results, comparison and contrast of morphometric relationships, testing of modeled/predicted results, critical evaluation of methodology

Other skills goals for this activity

Basic Excel graphical skills

Description of the activity/assignment

The goal of this activity is to provide students an opportunity to analyze the stream pattern and morphometric relationships of a particular watershed. Students will use topographic map analysis and data collection, along with analysis of data using Excel to characterize their watershed.
Designed for a geomorphology course

Determining whether students have met the goals

I grade their hand-in sheet.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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