Credit: Susan Hurstcalderone, science and resource teacher, Blessed Sacrament School, Washington, D.C.
Two class periods
Students will understand the following:
The following materials should be distributed to each group:
Have students find documentation for soil testing that has been done in their own community and report their findings to the class.
You can evaluate your students on their lab reports using the following three-point rubric:
Three points: accurate and complete description of each soil test; clear explanation
of how tests would be used; careful and error-free writing
Two points: satisfactory description of each soil test; explanation of how tests would be used lacking in clarity; some writing errors
One point: sketchy description; unclear explanation or no explanation; numerous writing errors
You can ask your students to contribute to the assessment rubric by determining
what information should be included in the description of each soil test.
Have students use either a map of the United States or a large local map to locate and label major rivers on the map. Students can then label major cities near the rivers. Divide the class into groups to research a particular city and the river associated with it. The research students gather should include historical, geographical, geological, and meteorological information on their river and city. Information could include the following: when the city was founded, what industries make particular use of the river, what the elevation of the city is, where the town cemetery was built, what year and season the last flood occurred, how high the river has risen, and whether the city has taken precautions against future floods.
Use a stream table to explore with your students the impact of slope on water
velocity. (If you don't have a stream table, a long rectangular planter, wallpaper
trough, or piece of gutter will also work.) Arrange your equipment so that students
can vary the height of the container and thereby change the slope. Fill the
container with sand, potting soil, or clay. Using a measured amount of water
and a watch with a second hand, students can determine the velocity of the flow
based on the height (slope) and length of the container. With each change in
the slope of the container, have students draw the erosion patterns. Students
can display their results in a graph and discuss ways that communities use this
type of data. For example, they might observe the edges of a highway from a
safe location and then, back in class, discuss how engineers have designed highways
to be protected from high-velocity running water. How is erosion prevented?
Michael Allaby. Facts on File, 1998.
This work discusses floods, from basic meteorology to floods caused by tsunamis. It also discusses man's attempts to prevent and control flooding.
"Tearing at the Earth"
Craig Childs. Audubon, May-June 1998.
In the desert, flash foods strike quickly and powerfully. In the process, they move boulders and carve stone.
FEMA: Fact Sheet: Floods and Flash Floods
Information on floods, maps, and mitigation.
The Weather Channel-Project Safeside: Flood and Flash Flood Safety
Information and photographs of floods.
Floods and Severe Storms - Geography Net Links
Information on rivers, floods, and hydrology that is updated frequently.
Flood Warning Home Page
Good graphics and maps on rainfall data of the United States.
The Hydrologic Information Center
Lots of information including rivers, floods, historical records, the national water supply and current conditions.
An embankment for preventing flooding.
Context: Eventually, rivers break through their banks and levees.
In India and adjacent areas, the season of the southwest monsoon (a wind in the Indian Ocean) characterized by very heavy rainfall.
Context: The timetable of life is driven by the arrival and departure of the monsoon. The monsoon's path is ultimately blocked by the mighty peaks of the Himalayas.
The entire tract of country drained by a river and its tributaries.
Context: A belt of violent storms traveled right along the line of the river. All the water they produced was caught in the same river basin.
Loose sedimentary material with rock particles usually 1/20 millimeter or less in diameter.
Context: Before they could begin to estimate the flood damage, hundreds of tons of silt had to be removed; it had all been washed off the mountain slopes by the torrential rain.
Saturated with water.
Context: The land was so waterlogged by heavy rain, the soil could no longer absorb it and the floods began to build.
Copyright 2001 Discovery.com.
Teachers may reproduce copies of these materials for classroom use only.