Erosion Exploration

Objective: This activity will give students a chance to investigate the landscape and water routes around their school. By the end of the activity, they will have a better understanding of where runoff water can come from and how to prevent erosion. They will use maps to chart out places they see erosion, drain spouts, trash, and crumbling asphalt.

Warm-Up: Show students maps of their school and the surrounding areas. Discuss where the local creeks/streams flow, what impact water on their campus has on surrounding areas, and vice verse.

Main Activity: Similar to Project WET’s Rainy Day Hike. Give each student or pair of students a map of the campus. In small groups, explore the entire campus. Tell the students to draw interesting things in on the map that they see, including erosion points and gullies, drain spouts from the roof, trash, pipes, erosion fences, etc. Have a camera for each group of students, and let them take turns photographing their findings.

Once they have explored the entire campus, regroup and discuss the findings. Ask where they think are sources of water runoff; make sure to point out that roofs are paved surfaces that water can run off as well as pavement!

Wrap Up: Discuss what possible solutions there are to prevent erosion and runoff. Such ideas include various types of plants, pervious pavement, redirecting of roof drain spouts, ponds, and detaining water / slowly releasing it. Have each student pick their favorite solution and make a powerpoint presentation about it. (You can find our presentation outline here!)