1. S:UWPublic4H-Youth DevelopmentCamp TaPaWingoLesson PlansA RIVER IS A TREE MADE OF WATER.doc A RIVER IS A TREE MADE OF WATER Activity Plan Project Skills: Youth…
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  • 1. S:UWPublic4H-Youth DevelopmentCamp TaPaWingoLesson PlansA RIVER IS A TREE MADE OF WATER.doc A RIVER IS A TREE MADE OF WATER Activity Plan Project Skills: Youth investigate rivers and health of a river through scientific investigation. Life Skills:  Learning to Learn Academic Standard: A.8.3 Use techniques such as modeling and simulating to organize information gathered in their investigations Grade Levels: Grades 3-8 Time: 1 day Supplies Needed:  Ice cube trays, 1 per 2-3 youth  Tweezers, 1 pair per youth  Magnifying glasses, 1 per youth  Seining nets  Clipboards  Brochures on each of the River Watersheds for each of the students  Laminated dichotomous keys for aquatic invertebrates.  Styrofoam boards  Sponges  Moss  Sand  Mud  Twigs and sticks  Buckets  chalkboard or sidewalk  multicolored chalk  large map with rivers  Sticky dots  1 bag of potting soil  6-10 dry sponges or about 2-3 cups of dried annual mushrooms such as turkey tails and tree ears.  2 cups ground charcoal from campfire  1 meter pvc pipe with one end capped  1 meter long metal ruler Do Ahead: Order enough brochures for watershed areas for Manitowoc, East Twin and West Twin Rivers BACKGROUND Youth investigate rivers through art, history and science to learn how and why they are important and interconnected. WHAT TO DO Activity 1 – Drawing a tree out of water. Pass out maps Today we are going to going through our water. But instead of starting water I would like to start by drawing a tree. A very special tree. This tree is going to start of small with a thin trunk and two main branches. Draw the figure on the board to the right. Now each of you is going to add a branch or a twig to this tree. T only thing is you have to start it somewhere near on an already existing branch or twig, and when you draw it you must connect it and then continue to follow its path down the main branch until it reaches the base of the trunk, like rainwater running all the way down the tree. Like this. Show but use a different color of chalk. As you can see I didn’t necessarily go perfect and that is just fine. To make this picture I don’t want everything to flow straight. I nature, not everything moves in a straight line. Now line up and take turns. Be sure to pass your chalk to the next person. At the finish you should end up with a picture like this. So what have you created? A tree. Anything else? Take answers. You have also made a river, much like the rivers we are studying. A river is a tree made of water. Can any of you give me examples of how a river is like a tree? Take answers. If none given use these/ It has a trunk. It has branches. It gathers nutrients from in their purest forms from its farthest reaches and it brings them together. It is fast and noisy at its outermost reaches and slow and quiet near its thickest part. And like a tree, most of the nutrient can be found within its trunk. Today we are going to explore rivers, streams, and other moving forms of water. I
  • 2. S:UWPublic4H-Youth DevelopmentCamp TaPaWingoLesson PlansA RIVER IS A TREE MADE OF WATER.doc Check weather for each of the sites 24hrs ahead of time. Make reservations for each of the sites ahead of time. Plan a schedule for each of the sites. Adapted From: Sources: Written by Matt Welter 4-H Youth Development Educator, Manitowoc County Adapted for: want you to keep this picture in your mind because so often when we think of a river we think of just one body of water, one moving river, moving at one speed. I want you to change that, to think of a river as many smaller rivers, many smaller springs, flowing together to form one river and each one contributes its energy, its life, its vigor to the river we are going to explore. Activity 2 Maps and landforms Hand out maps and dots. I want you to work with a partner to find two things. One is where we are on this map and what are the closest rivers and water sources to us? Next I want you to find out where you live and what is the closes water source to you. I want you to take your sticky dots once you have found the closest flowing water source to where you live and I want you to put it on the big map at the edge of the room. On the dot, with an arrow draw the direction the water flows.  While you wait for others to finish this activity think about these questions:  Have you ever followed your water source upstream to its source?  Have you ever followed your water source to where it meets another river?  How clear is the water at your water source?  Does this water source ever flood over its banks? Is there a pattern that emerges once we begin to look at all of the arrows? Take answers and echo… An example might be that they are all headed to Lake Michigan. Now I want to see if there are any clusters of people in the room. Can anyone take this dry erase marker and find a group of people that are all together on one river. Take a volunteer. Each time you have ask, Can I have that group please come together at this table. Divide up the room into about 6-8 groups. Each group here represents a watershed. A watershed is a land area in which all the water drains into a particular body of water. For example, everyone in this room could be part of the Lake Michigan Watershed. But for now we are going to use your closest body of water. So you might be the Jambo Creek Watershed or the Devils River Watershed. I want you to get together and on a piece of paper discuss as a group the following four things.  What are the most beautiful/interesting parts of body of water and the land around it?  Are there any stories you have or you have heard people tell about places along here?  How often do you see wildlife along this area? What kind?  What do you think is the biggest threat to this no longer being beautiful?  If you could change one thing about this area what would it be and how would different people in your community react to this? Give students 7-10 minutes and then time to present.
  • 3. S:UWPublic4H-Youth DevelopmentCamp TaPaWingoLesson PlansA RIVER IS A TREE MADE OF WATER.doc Activity 3 Watershed health map Hand out styrofoam and boxes. One more activity before we go out and start exploring our sites I want you to understand has to do with the water flowing. Water doesn’t just flow. It bends, it moves it collides. I want to tell you a story about how different our water system is from 150 years ago. I need your help. I have this wooden box and it is going to represent the ground here in northeast Wisconsin. Underneath it, millions of years ago was once an ancient seabed that eventually hardened in layers, with lots of cracks and crevices in it. If you go to the Niagara Escarpment or the Maribel Caves you can see this, so let’s take these Styrofoam chunks and pack them in here and pack them down so they form the bed under the soil. The final layers of sand, clay and gravel that were left behind by the glaciers are still here under our feet, so let’s put down a layer of that on top of the Styrofoam. After our glacial lakes went away and soil started to form, trees grew fell and decomposed in this newly formed soil. The remaining layer was called the duff layer. This layer was a thick layer 6-12 inches deep of rotting wood, moss and leaves. This layer when wet had lots of spidery white threads called mycelium which were hundreds of kinds of mushrooms. The mycelium helped other plants to grow and sucked up all sorts of water, while also helping to break down rotting trees and leaves. For this layer we are going to put down a combination of potting soil and ground up sponges/mushrooms. Let’s trace a river through this from one side to the other. We will also have this leaning upward with a brick so it is at a slope. Finally I need three volunteers to be my pourers. Pour slowly. Watch what happens. Ask youth for observations. Ask about soil in areas surrounding rivers. We also had natural tree falls and beavers. So I am going to ask for some beavers and someone to put in a felled tree or two as the water is flowing. Again take stream flow. A few things began to change in our area with the coming of Europeans. The first was the fur trade. French, British and eventually American traders offered large sums of money for beaver pelts, to the point that there were almost no beavers. This caused rivers to flow a little faster. Take sticks out of stream and pour water. Starting in the mid 1800s, then going full force in late 1800s and early 1900s, lumber barons began cutting Wisconsin’s forests down. The duff layer that was usually wet and moist was exposed to the sun. It, along with branches left behind by lumberjacks, caught fire and caused major burns. The Peshtigo fire was the most infamous in 1871, killing 2500 people. However the largest fire was in 1911 in the northern third of Wisconsin and it burned 1.1 million acres. These burns destroy the duff layer and replaced it with ash that burned the soil several inches below
  • 4. S:UWPublic4H-Youth DevelopmentCamp TaPaWingoLesson PlansA RIVER IS A TREE MADE OF WATER.doc the surface. For years after these fires the rivers ran black. What do you think happened next? Take answers. If no one answers say, Here’s a clue, what would happen if I put powdered charcoal in your fish tank? Remove duff layer and replace with ground charcoal. Show flooding again. This was an environmental disaster that would take decades to even begin to return the ground back to its way it was before. Most trees live to 60-70 years before they even begin to fall. So in some ways, we have still not recovered from this. Have kids compare different glasses of gathered water. Ask which is healthiest and for different animals living in steam and why. In order to find this out we need to investigate different parts of our tree made of water. We are going to start here at Camp Tapawingo, then we are going to move out to other spots close by. Activity 4 – Setting Stage for Research Hand out aquatic insect key. Show students aquatic invertebrate chart and allow them time to familiarize themselves with it. One way we can study the life that is there by studying the aquatic animals that are in the stream. These are some of the most common that you can find in our area. The more you can find in your on small area, the healthier your tree made of water is. We will start by using nets and going over different parts of the stream. The sides and the middle. One person will walk ahead to stir up the animals. The second person follows behind with the net in the water. Both people go to shore and carefully take things out of their nets with tweezers and put them into ice cube trays. At the end, report what you find on the sheet. We will then discuss it. Help kids with collection. Make sure students are safe. Also make sure they bend down to stir up rocks and leaves. For discussion show the different strata of healthy streams vs unhealthy ones (the latter have lots of the same species and not much diversity). Two other things we can test for is water speed and clarity. One way we can test for water speed is with a boat on a line. We have a toy boat with 10 feet of line. One person stands 12 feet away with a timer. The other person drops the boat into the water and lets the line slip through their hands. At the end of the line is a spool. It won’t fit through the person’s fingers like the line will. When the line runs out and the spool grows tight the person holding the spool shouts “Stop!” The person with the timer records the number of seconds it takes for it to run out. You need to do this 3 times and take the average speed. However, if you have more than one pair of people doing this in the river you can have all of the pairs add up their number of seconds, divide by the number of pairs and get another average speed.
  • 5. S:UWPublic4H-Youth DevelopmentCamp TaPaWingoLesson PlansA RIVER IS A TREE MADE OF WATER.doc Water clarity. For water clarity, a sechi disc is hard to use in a river. Here we suggest a piece of pvc pipe with a metal ruler inside. It should be 1 meter long with the bottom stopped. The “0” should be at the open end and the pipe should be just a little longer than that. Youth will take water from the river by inserting the pipe level with the stream. Then stand it upright in a sunny spot. If sun is not available use a flashlight. Youth must agree on what is the farthest number down they can see. That is the clarity and that is recorded. If several pipes are used an average can be recorded. You may want to do several spots for this program. For Camp TaPaWingo the following spots are suggested: River right near the lodge. Stream under bridge near arboretum. Pond near sledding hill or barn. River under bridge off Tapawingo Road. River under bridge off Hillview Road. River along Ice Age Trail on Rock Ledge Road. River in Jambo Creek Park. If field trips can be made further afield… Devils River at Maribel Cave East Twin River at Woodland Dunes East Twin River in Mishicot At the end of this activity it is best to pull the result in together and use for the talk it over portion. TALK IT OVER Reflect:  What are some of the results you noticed about diversity in the different river locations? Did clarity, river speed or the history of the area have anything to do with the number of insects?  What are two things you didn’t ever think about rivers before?  Fill in the following phrase… A river is like a tree made of water because…. Application:  Keep a river journal at home. If you have a stream, journal or other water source near your home, watch it every day and write about it at least once a week. Look back periodically to find out if you begin to see patterns.  Make your own device for testing water clarity out of a plastic straw.  Find out what watershed you live in. What river is closest to you? Where does it start out? Where does it end up? What other streams and rivers cross over it? ENHANCE/SIMPLIFY Enhance for Older Children:
  • 6. S:UWPublic4H-Youth DevelopmentCamp TaPaWingoLesson PlansA RIVER IS A TREE MADE OF WATER.doc River Walk One way of doing the research end of this program is to do a river walk. That is to have the students put on wading boots and walk for 1-2 miles in the river and back. The research portion is downstream, the challenge portion is upstream. During the upstream portion, the challenge is also to communicate with each other using as few words as possible. Set ground rules such as, “Only in case of emergency do we break the silence.” “Everyone find another person to hold hands with.” “No one lags behind.” Plant the idea of this being an experience for them. “You should be thinking about what the river is telling you when you are walking up it. You may try walking closer to the banks or closer to the center. The sound of the river ahead may be telling you something. Even the color of the river may be telling you something. Does the color change with the sound of the river?’ “Think about the trees around the river and how they are different from the trees you see in the forest. How do the trees contribute to the river? How do they affect the river? How are they like the river?” “At the end of this walk you will have a time to write these thoughts down and to share them. Other thoughts may come your way to but bring them back to the river.” Enhancements for Younger Children: Make “Fairy Boats” out of milkweed pods and flower petals. Have children launch them from docs or logs to watch how they travel down a stream. Find a spot in a stream where water speeds up, slows down or swirls. Drop colorful leaves like yellowed aspen leaves there and as they get caught up in the current have the kids say “Whoooooaaaa” and when they go fast have them say “weeeeee” and when they slow down or swirl have them say “Aaaaaaawww…” You can facilitate this by saying, “Imagine you are a tiny fairy on top of that leaf about to ride on your leaf boat across the water. What would you say as you approach that tiny waterfall? Catch bugs with pond nets. Have egg cartons with a couple drops of food coloring. Set bug in food coloring then onto white cardstock. Kids can watch bugs make tracks on paper. Then hand the bugs to kids to let let them go back in the river. Sing “Three Little Fishies” song with them. HELPFUL HINTS Walk the river ahead of time. Check out areas ahead of time and make sure other events are not being planned. ADDITIONAL WEB LINKS
  • 7. S:UWPublic4H-Youth DevelopmentCamp TaPaWingoLesson PlansA RIVER IS A TREE MADE OF WATER.doc Reviewed by Wisconsin 4-H Learning Resources Committee on: An EEO/AA employer, University of Wisconsin-Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title IX and American with Disabilities (ADA) requirements. © 2005 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. Developed by the Wisconsin 4-H Office, 431 Lowell Hall, 610 Langdon St., Madison, WI 53703. The 4-H name and emblem are federally protected under Title 18 US Code 707.
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