Rivers and their tributaries are among the most familiar of all natural phenomena. Geologists cite evidence that many rivers have not always flowed in the beds they now occupy. Rivers have been one of the principal sculptural agencies responsible for the changes that shaped the landscape. Through millions of years of geologic time, rivers have been wearing down the land, and in that process have changed the appearance of many landforms.
Rivers are a product of water from the rain and snow that falls on the land and flows downhill under the influence of gravity. The form of rivers depends upon many factors. Water runs downhill under the influence of gravity, the flow of the water being characteristically turbulent, with swirls and eddies. The overall, long profile of a river valley is concave upwards, however much of its gradient may vary. The velocity of the stream increases with the gradient, but also depends on other factors, including the position within the river Channel, the degree of turbulence, and the shape and course of the channel, and the stream load. As the water makes it trek from the highlands to the sea, it collects in channels that coverage downstream to make progressively larger ones, forming an integrated network of water courses carved out by the flowing water itself. If there were no rain or snow, or if the temperature were always below freezing, there could be no rivers.
Erosion and transportation of rock debris by channels of flowing water gradually carve out river valleys. By eroding and transporting the products of erosion to the oceans, rivers constantly modify the land features of the earth.
The action of water is the principle erosive force on the earth’s surface and is responsible for much of the variety of the landscape. Can you picture West River dry and hot with no life form? As you look around New Haven you will see that West River would be an entirely different kind of place if there were no water in the soil and air.
Have you looked at the geologic processes of West River? It would be motivating to seek out the reasons why West River looks the way it does today. What are the reasons for its size and shape? What things are natural or what things are man-made? What kind of materials are in it, around or under it? Will it still be the same in ten or twenty years from now? Will it be different? Can we predict what changes will take place. These are just a few of the many questions that will be interesting to investigate.
For the purpose of this paper, I am going to investigate the vital role that West River plays in the geologic processes in New Haven. I will be dealing primarily with the section of West River that is located off Derby Avenue and the Boulevard and end at Blake and Whalley Avenue in Westville near the Mite Corporation. In order to expedite this task, I am going to use some of the resources available in outdoor laboratories, such as, Edgewood Park. I will use several topographical maps, as well as others, to discuss many of the findings made in the research. Some of the unit will be based on group discussions, teacher’s input, seminar leader, fact finding information and experiences, as well as my own experiences and observations. I will seek out resource materials and plan field trips to confirm and validate the research.
It is my aim to provide students with information on the subject and to make them aware of career related fields.
It will be stimulating and refreshing for me to equip students with a real purpose or a motivation to explore and discover the world around them. It makes sense to do it with a real sense of involvement. Hand-on experiences and action are the only way for students to become involved in the learning process.
This curriculum is designed as a challenge to middle school students grades 5-8. The unit will include lesson plans, laboratory exercises, topographic maps, audiovisuals, a list of related careers, a reading list for teachers and students and a bibliography.
It is my hope that this unit will add dimension to the science curriculum and will be meaningful to both students and teachers. Teachers who teach history, can also effectively utilize the unit.