Last saturday I re-wrote our lesson about the earth to be centered around water and the health of our earth. This last thursday I had a chance to test drive my lesson on the 6th graders of Franklin Middle School.
I taught about Erosion and the health of our planet. Although I've never hiked in the empty creek before I decided to hike through and teach the erosion lesson anyways. The creek was definitely man made for the camp location but it was a great teaching tool. The students were able to see the roots of the trees holding the soil in place. I had some students who didn't quite get the concept of what a watershed was so I made a pile of sand on the ground and asked them where they thought the water would go? Then I started pouring some of my water bottle onto the pile of sand. The water was able to carve the sand and make a little canal where some water made it to the bottom and and most of the water drained into the ground. The bottom of the creek had very permeable sand because of the large amounts of silt being drained into the creek from the mountain. I asked the students what would happen if the bottom of the creek was cement like some of the LA River?
We spotted holes on the side walls of the empty creek. The students determined those were small animal homes who may be effected by flood or erosion.
We spotted lots of animal tracks. The students believed that animals would come to drink at one of the drainage pipes that lead into the creek. As it was my first time hiking inside the creek I was surprised to find so much pollution. There were tires, balloons, golf balls, cans, etc. We picked up what we could and threw it away.
We were able to see how the surface run off into the creek emptied into a canal that would later connect to the LA River. I explained to the students that every where we live we are in a watershed and I asked the students if they knew the name of their watershed? I had to give them a few hints but eventually they got it, the LA River Watershed!
The next day was the last day of their time at camp. The students ran up to me and shouted about how they won 200 points at the jeopardy game last night! They were so happy and excited to tell me what question they won 200 points for. The question was, what is the name of the watershed you live in? They were so proud about knowing the answer and they gave me the credit.
I couldn't have been happier all week.