6th Grade – Streambank Stabilization Project

An Elementary look at River Morphology

                                                       an element of 6th grade science

This year’s 6th grade students are taking part in the on-going Oak Hill Streambank Stabilization Project. Our “Oak Hill Creek” is a seasonal waterway with a variety of features. Upstream of the project area we have a functioning floodplain while immediately downstream of the project area we have a developing floodplain. In between, in the approximately 200 foot reach of the project area, our creek is characterized by recently and steeply incised banks and this area is actively headwardly eroding while losing both channel banks to active and vigorous side channel erosion.

The Project goal is articulated prior to the students doing any design or implementation measures. To:

Stabilize the stream channel with erosion inhibiting measures and restore the streambank habitat for macro invertebrates, amphibians, fish and other wildlife

Having established our goals the students are assigned into teams and work stations. They then design solutions to the specific problems relative to their stations, construct their solutions, and track changes over time.

Objectives include:

  • Understanding basic stream flow behaviors
  • Explaining the interaction among changes in small and large scale environments due to natural occurrences including precipitation and flooding
  • Understanding how the location and movement of water through groundwater zones and surface-water drainage basins are important to ecosystems and to human activities
  • Generating questions that can be answered through scientific investigation
  • Understanding data collection and basic spreadsheet manipulations
  • Using data to track changes over time

We get wet, muddy, and tired but we have a great time doing so. Field work happens every other week alternating with class time which includes in-depth study and transposition of field notes.