Simulation Reveals Long-Term River Changes


Finn Welch, Staff Writer

In an effort to teach Living Earth students about how rivers change over time, the science department set up a river simulation in the library. Students added barriers, edited obstacles, and changed water flow to see firsthand how a river’s flow would be affected. The simulation occupied the “quiet study” area of the library from December 17 to January 23.

Living Earth teacher Patrick Wildermuth said that the display’s interactive approach facilitated his student’s learning. “We were hoping that kids would better able to see how rivers change course over time and see how they move particles,” he explained.

Built by science teachers Tren Kauzer and Rene Gillibert last year, the display features multicolored plastic grains and a continuous supply of water.

However, the science department was not entirely satisfied with the installation. “It would be more educational if we could have 1 in each classroom and just let the thing run for 6 weeks,” said Wildermuth, who believed that more long-term learning would allow students to take more initiative and “would be way more fun and way more educational.”

“The students were not able to see over a long period of time, and it didn’t accomplish the full goal,” agreed Gillibert.

Housing the simulation in the library limited the amount of time they could live the water running. Gillibert said he was able to keep the water running for long periods when it was in his own classroom.

Freshman and Living Earth student Alyssa Craigy said that the simulation helped her to “learn how a river shapes over time.”