Two streams, two stories... How Humans Alter Floods and Streams
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 page first made public: Feb 25, 2006
- Be able to determine recurrence intervals for a set of discharge data
- examine the idea of a "100-year flood" and discuss the limitations of this concept
- discuss human impacts on streams and flooding
- calculate the probability of exceedence from a recurrence interval
Context for Use
Teaching Notes and Tips
The most problematic part I have experienced is that my students often do not know how to graph a best-fit line, which requires some supplemental instruction either to the entire class or on a one-on-one basis. Some students also have trouble choosing an appropriate scale for their graph's y-axis. I have them experiment to discover a satisfactory one, even though it may take a few attempts.
References and Resources
Foley, D., G McKenzie,and R.Utgard, 1999. "Investigations in Environmental Geology. Prentice Hall, New Jersey. 303 pp.
Dinicola, K. 1996 "The "1OO-Year Flood"" U.S.G.S. Fact Sheet 229-96 discusses the common misconception that 100-year floods occur only once in a 100-year period. In reality, a 100-year-flood may occur more than once or not at all during any particular 100-year period. The fact sheet also explains the need to update the estimated flow expected in a 100-year flood as more and more data becomes available for a particular river. This shows the importance of continued river monitoring. It is the source of the data for this exercise.
Controlled Vocabulary Terms
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity, Lab Activity, Datasets and Tools:Datasets with Teaching Activities
Special Interest: Quantitative, Hazards, Data, models, or simulations:Data, Geo2YC- OLD DO NOT USE, Data, models, or simulations, 2YC:Geo2YC
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level
Quantitative Skills: Probability and Statistics, Arithmetic/Computation, Logarithms/Exponential Functions, Probability and Statistics:Probability, Graphs, Probability and Statistics:Describing Data Distribution, Models and Modeling, Algebra, Probability and Statistics:Data Trends:Curve Fitting/Regression
Ready for Use: Ready to Use
Use: Illustrating concepts and ideas, Enabling Student Investigation:Analyze published data
Data Derived: Data Derived
Earth System Topics: Hydrology:Ground Water, Surface Water, Hydrology, Surface Processes:Rivers and Lakes, Human Dimensions:Land Use, Natural Hazards, Resources, Environmental Quality
Quantitative Skills Activity Type: Classroom Activity, Lab Activity
Topics: Human Dimensions/Resources, Hydrosphere/Cryosphere
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Environmental Science, Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience, Teach the Earth:Teaching Topics:Water, Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Two-Year Colleges, Teach the Earth:Incorporating Societal Issues:Hazards, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Hydrology/Hydrogeology