Students form in groups of 2 or 3. Students should thoroughly research river features in order to create a visual representation of their design. Also, students are responsible for a condensed interpretation of their design to go with their visual presentation. This should include a brief explanation of the design features, the problems they have solved, and the inspirations for these features.
Lesson 1: Blueprints
(Designing time = ~2 days)
Ask students to answer the following in their notebooks:
- What are Blueprints?
- Where can you get one?
- What do YOU know about blueprints?
Students will then have a short discussion about blueprints.
- What is it?
- Who uses it?
- Use specific features of the classroom and incorporate it into sample blueprints.
Ask each student to draw a blueprint of the classroom. Afterwards, students will be put into groups and create a blueprint for the water system project. The icons and features will have a standard key in which all students will have similar and recognizable designs based on their symbols.
Each blueprint design must include:
- Description section of design on right-hand corner.
- Label each section with numbers.
- Need a Professional Engineering/Architect Company Name.
- Use at least 6 Landform/Features on the design.
- Use of icons/symbols given on the blueprint.
- Some color may be useful! Must use rulers or a straight-edge!
- Be CREATIVE and PROFESSIONAL looking as possible!
Lesson 2: Constructing our River System
(Building time = ~5 days)
- Attach two aluminum trays at an angle and tape them together. (Give it a slope.) This represents the watershed and where students will be designing their river. The greater the slope between the two trays, the faster water will flow down your river. Tape and reinforce your two trays together so it does not fall apart.
- Use laminated cardstock paper to create your river using your blueprint as a guideline. The cardstock could be manipulated into different shapes you make it. The features will be created from the finalized blueprint design each group made. The features include: canal, tunnel, vegetation (trees, bushes, etc.), bridges, valleys, waterfalls, floodplains, levees, delta, meanders, oxbow lakes, ponds, boulders, pebbles, small islands, dams, rapids, tributaries, etc. Make sure you are using your blueprint as a guideline! Tape your cardstock onto the aluminum trays. Make sure you tape each feature down very well so water does not seep out from the side holes or cracks.
- Each group must use at least 6 features on your project (canal, tunnel, vegetation, bridges, valleys, waterfalls, floodplains, levees, delta, meanders, oxbow lake, pond, boulders, pebbles, small islands, dams, rapids, tributaries, etc.). Be creative and make it look realistic!
- Construct miniature boats out of styrofoam. Make sure they are small enough to go through certain features. These boats are additional objects that could be used to be a visual presentation to tell how fast the river is flowing.
- Once the river is built and the boats are constructed, students can test their river system by pouring water through it, and letting the boat move down the river. Be sure to add water slowly.
- Students should record their observations and explain why their river flowed the way it did based on the river features they included. If you do not have students test with water, they should still explain their final river design using the key terms included in the background section of this lesson. This can be done as a class discussion, presentation, written report, etc.