Saturday, February 11, 2012

Stream Tables

Student Blogger, H.C., decided to write about what we have been experimenting with in our Landforms unit. Our FOSS kits came late, but they have been so much fun! Her post explains the set-up perfectly. At the end of her post I will go into greater detail of the three different experiments the class did over the last two weeks. Here is H.C.:

What I wanted to talk about is the stream tables we have been doing in class. We have been different types of experiments. One was flooding! What you do is put a big tub on a desk. Then you get a smaller tub and you put it on the ground or a chair. You put amount of sand (and clay) in the big tub. You need a ruler and a cup with a hole in the bottom. You place the ruler side ways so the end of the rulers touch each side of the tub. Then you place the cup on the ruler You will fill the cup with water and wait until it comes through the sand. Before you do this you write a prediction. You are done after a second cup of water. Then you write a conclusion.
Here is a picture demonstrating the set-up H.C. described
H.C. did a great job describing the set up of the stream tables. The first cup is meant to represent standard rain fall. When you fill the cup with water over the earth material (shaped like a plateau) you can witness what would happen to the earth with erosion in thousands of years in only two minutes. Students write and sketch observations of their stream table as two water cups flow over their earth material. I walked around and tried to point out canyons, caves, floodplains, meandering rivers, deltas and more. Our 2nd experiment has a larger hole in the cup that represents a flooding environment. The 3rd experiment is not part of the FOSS kit investigations. My host teacher wondered if we put popsicle sticks (as a way to create a tree type environment) if it would  lessen or slow down erosion. As I walked around I noticed that the "trees" did change the impact of the erosion. The students had a hard time seeing the difference because in both the material did eventually have a landslide (which would happen in reality as well). I  had students create a Venn Diagram to compare the standard rain fall experiment with no trees and the experiment with trees to highlight some of the similarities and differences. This has been a fabulous way for students to witness landforms forming in a very quick and relevant way. I am sorry to see the FOSS kits leave.

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