>Students will gain an understanding of how water flowing across the landscape shapes landforms and is shaped by flow pathways etc
>Students will gain an understanding of the common terms used in this area of science
>Students will apply this and other knowledge gained through this curriculum package to practical issues of catchment management
PVC stand pipe
PVC elbow joint
Large plastic box
River shape and form laboratory worksheet (see below)
For in-classroom adaptation:
Old nature magazines
River morphology describes the shapes of river channels and how they change over time. The morphology of a river channel is a function of a number of processes and environmental conditions, including the makeup of the bed and banks as well as the state of its vegetation, the rate of sediment transport through the channel and the rate of deposition on the floodplain, banks and bars.
When the junior Einstein said to his father that he had chosen for his doctoral thesis the topic of the mechanics of sediment movement and the dynamics of rivers, the senior Einstein, after prolonged silence, said: “Amazing! When I was at the point of choosing my topic I had exactly the same ideas. I never told anybody about this. However, after more detailed serious consideration it became clear to me that this was too difficult a subject. Hence, I opted for the simpler aspects of physics.”
Courtesy of Urbana Middle School, IL
1. Take the students to a section of their local river or stream (ideally the waterbody has to be flowing water, not virtually still like a lake for example).
2. Give each student (or pair of for a larger group) one of the vocabulary words (see above) with its definition (see Glossary).
3. Ask the students to find in the area an example of their word.
4. Have them sketch their example, taking particular care in indicating how the water seems to be moving around their word/example.
5. If they have done other lessons from the Sustaining River Life package, ask them to explain the impacts or relevance of their word/example to aspects of the river such as water quality, macroinvertebrates, frogs, platypus, native fish, different vegetation communities, and where invasive plants or animals might most likely be found.
6. If time permits, allow students the opportunity to investigate their predictions.
7. Have students discuss the relative stability of various points they have looked at during this activity. Where do they predict changes will occur most quickly? Where would they build a house? What do the features they have noted say about the health of the river system in general?