Large Scale Watershed - Battelle Darby Creek
This fourth of five activities expands the watershed examined from a schoolyard to a large drainage that cannot be viewed from one location. The activity includes an examination of changing land uses within the drainage and discusses interactions between society and the environment. A number of supporting activities are provided for those students who need practice with topographic maps or learning to use various web resources.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered:
How the activity is situated in the course:
National or State Education Standards addressed by this activity?:
Content/concepts goals for this activity:
- Volumes of water added to a system or removed from a system are calculated by measuring and multiplying the length, width, and depth of water (volume = length x width x depth). A rain gauge provides a measure of depth (of precipitation that falls into the rain gauge), but the length and width of an area must also be measured. In a lake or reservoir, the volume of water can be calculated by the width and length of the water body multiplied by its average depth.
- Measurements made with rain gauges and flow gauges best represent events happening nearby rather than events happening over large geographic areas.
- In a soil and water system, where soil particles are assumed to be fixed, measuring the volume of water added to a system and the volume of water that leaves a system provides a way to estimate the volume of water that remains within a system.
- While water particles are most commonly added to a soil-water system via rain, they can be removed via evaporation, uptake by plants, surface runoff, and subsurface runoff. Water particles can also be stored in the system.
- Humans can alter evaporation, uptake by plants, surface runoff, and subsurface runoff through land use patterns (paving surfaces, re-grading slopes, or changing vegetation cover, for instance).
- Water naturally drains downhill (from a higher elevation to a lower elevation) due to gravity.
- A watershed is a region from which water drains to a common location.
- Scientists can create complex mathematical models that allow them to adjust many factors and predict the effect on storage, surface runoff, and subsurface runoff.
- Computers allow scientists to design more complex models and use the models over larger geographic areas or longer time scales than would otherwise be possible.
- As scientists collect additional data and improve their understanding of the Earth System, mathematical models are improved and more accurate predictions are made.
- Geoscientists are working on topics that have applications in everyday life.
- Geoscientists need to apply their content knowledge in innovative ways while working with a diverse range of partners to solve complex problems.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity:
Other skills goals for this activity:
Description of the activity/assignment
Determining whether students have met the goals
Download teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment:Overview: Large Scale Watershed - Battelle Darby Creek (Acrobat (PDF) 63kB Nov25 15)
- Instructors Notes:Teacher Notes: Large Scale Watershed - Battelle Darby Creek (Acrobat (PDF) 15.1MB Nov25 15)
- Solution Set:
Other Activities in this Series: