Stream Table: Learning the Basics of River Dynamics

In an era of YouTube, teachers can access instructional videos that they share with their students on how rivers act and react. Admittedly, this is the easier route to take. They simply play the video and sit back as the children watch.

Classrooms now have adapted to the digital disruption by integrating iPads and tablets into their lessons. In fact, libraries are starting to give way to digital books. You cannot deny that a preschool kid is better equipped to use mobile apps and the Internet compared to Baby Boomers.

So, in comparison, a physical stream table seems anachronistic inside a classroom. Compared to your computer, for instance, it is nothing more than a box measuring about six feet long and three feet wide. Granted, you can use a deep-cycle 12-volt battery to power the stream. The motor is probably the most modern among its components.

Although, it should be noted, however, that modern does not necessarily mean better. For instance, various studies revealed that children still learn better when reading books compared to consuming information through digital devices.

In the same vein, being able to interact with a stream table would be miles better compared to watching other people conduct an experiment on YouTube.

What can your students learn on a stream table?

  1. They will learn how gravity can affect the behavior of rivers, streams, and other bodies of water. For instance, rivers start at the top of the mountains and make their way down. They can better appreciate the splendor of a waterfall.
  2. They will understand how rivers can change the geo-landscape of a specific area. On the other hand, landscapes will also influence how the river behaves. With gravity, the water from the top of the mountains can also produce brooks, rivulets, streams, tributaries, and rapids.
  3. They will understand the gradient of the stream. The gradient is material for measuring the downhill slope. For instance, when you say a gradient of 20 feet per mile, it means the elevation will drop 20 feet across one mile of distance traveled. As you might expect, the higher the gradient number, the faster the velocity of the river.
  4. They will also know the velocity of the stream or river. The river flow will range from 0 miles per hour to seven miles per hour. A speed of over five miles is already considered fast. Using the stream table, children will find out for themselves the phenomenon about the water flowing most swiftly in the middle of the channel. The reason for this is the minimal friction. Meanwhile, the water flows slower in the riverbank or riverbed, where there are plenty of obstructions.
  5. The shape will affect speed. A narrow channel will produce faster rapids. In contrast, a broader mouth with a shallow bed is the perfect condition to create a slower flow. Again, you can attribute it to more obstructions caused by rocks and the river bed.

As you can see, no matter how long they watch YouTube videos, it still would not compare to a real-life demonstration of how rivers and streams behave. Students learn quicker when they interact with a real-life model. That is why an old-fashioned stream table is still essential in this day and age.

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