Using Urban Hydrology Issues To Engage Earth Science Students and Provide Community Service
Keywords: urban hydrology, stream, wetland, community-based, problem-solving, service learning
The following learning goals are part of my Watershed Hydrology course:
- To analyze local hydrologic data and evaluate it within the context of "textbook" readings and cases.
- To use tools of the hydrologic and hydrogeologic profession in the collection and analysis of data, in computation and modeling, and in presentation relative to the problems an environmental geologist might address in his or her career.
- To reflect on and articulate the relevance and application of your work to the community and its water-related problems and issues.
Higher order thinking skills goals
Create field sampling schemes, collect and analyze data, formulate hypotheses, synthesize ideas, critical thinking, visualization and creating effective graphics.
Other skills goals
Group work, effective, professional writing, poster presentation.
Context for Use
Type and level of course
The opportunities afforded by work like this allow it to be used in classes ranging from introductory physical and environmental geology courses to independent research by seniors in geology and environmental science. The community-based, problem-solving activities that involve service learning are most appropriate to mid- and upper-level geology courses, here, process geomorphology and watershed hydrology.
Skills and concepts students should have mastered
Basic hydrology concepts (e.g., water balance, stream discharge, groundwater flow) are required but can be learned in preparation for the activity. Skills such as the use of instrumentation (e.g., use of Sontek Flowtracker to measure discharge, installing a monitoring well, deploying a levelogger, mapping sample sites into a GIS) or methods associated with data analysis are taught in prior labs or just-in-time.
How the activity is situated in the course
Activities are stand alone lab experiences (e.g., measurement of stream discharge to verify or add to a stage-discharge rating curve or a ring infiltration test, measurement of ground water level), as sequences, or as culminating projects. This needs to be flexible, to fit the problem, circumstances (e.g., flooding or seasonal rainfall), and student ability.
Description and Teaching Materials
What "Active and Engaged" Looks Like Prezi
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources
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