water, water, everywhere….

Given this morning’s headlines about flooding in New England, and the excessive amounts of rainfall that the Midwest received over the weekend, I thought it might be of interest to any Geography or Geology teachers that use Google Earth to take a look at the real-time stream flow sensor map.

While many might think a map showing stream flow to be a bit esoteric, there are a few uses for it outside of the high school science room. Many elementary students study their state’s geography and history (I remember studying it in 4th grade here in Michigan). Since water plays an important part in local geography and geology, it might be a good tool for you to study how “healthy” your local streams and rivers are. Middle school science classes could rate the streams by their ability to sort material given their flow, and math classes could graph data from previous years to see patterns.

If you have Google Earth, it’s just a matter of saving the link given in the article and opening it up in Google Earth. All of the streams that have data will show up as color-coded dots, the colors being an indication of how well or poorly the river is flowing. From there it was fairly easy to zoom in on the river nearest my community and clicking on the dot. A dialogue bubble pops up giving you the discharge of the river in cubic feet per second as well as the depth of the stream. With multiple readings from different parts of the streams, you could even graph the flow of a single river system as it gets farther from its source and closer to the lake, river, or ocean it dumps into. Just a few thoughts on a dreary Monday.

Thanks to the Google Earth Blog for this resource.