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rivers by Margaret and Elizabeth

We're Margaret and Elizabeth, and we're hitting the links...at the Science Museum of Minnesota! Our local science museum actually has a mini-golf course that was designed so kids can learn about rivers while putting. As we played on this specialized course, our minds wandered from holes-in-one to how real rivers work. Our DragonflyTV question: What do rivers do to the land?

What did we do?
We spent time at the museum exhibit on rivers, and chose some things we wanted to learn more about. We packed up our canoe and headed for a local river to check it out!

What did we find out?
Our canoe ride showed us how rivers meander; or twist and turn, and how the water deposits rocks and pebbles on the inside of each curve. We also learned how sediment layers develop in water; and how humans change river flow with dams.

What can you do?
  • Collect some sand and pebbles, and do a sediment investigation. Make sure you have pebbles and sand grains of various shapes and sizes. Mix them all up. Get a clear jar or bucket with water in it. Pour in the mixture of sand and pebbles. Watch them settle to the bottom. Which grain size settles farthest down? Why? Stir up the sand and pebbles with a stick and let them settle again. Do the same size grains always settle farthest down?
  • Study how water meanders on a driveway. This works best if your driveway has a little slope. Stand at the top of the driveway, and then slowly pour water from a small bucket onto the driveway, letting it run down the slope. Watch the water's path. The water won't carve a path in the driveway, of course, but it will "choose" a path to follow. Watch the leading edge of the water, as it runs into stuff like cracks, dips or pebbles, and see how it moves left or right to get past the obstacles. Draw a picture of the path the water leaves behind.
  • Use this rivers investigation as a science fair project idea for your elementary or middle school science fair! Then tell us about it!
more resources
More on Erosion.

Go to the DFTV Boards, and tell us about your science investigation.
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