Friday, December 2, 2011

Working with Stream Tables


These last few weeks our 8th grade students have been working with a stream table designed to simulate and teach basic river principles, including: how river channels form and change over time and how sediment is transported and deposited within river systems.


The stream table was built with an old wood household door that was no longer being used as the base.  It has the dimensions of 1.91 meters long by .85 meters wide.  There are numerous coats of silicon to prevent the leaking of water, these coats are especially thick near joints (after three years of use, there haven't been any leaks yet).  At any given time there is also 25-30 gallons of water being circulated throughout the system by a submersible pond pump.



The modeling media inside the stream table is manufactered thermoset plastic from Composition Materials Company (http://www.compomat.com/) in Milford, CT.  It is sold by them as 'Stream Table Mix' and consists of various sizes and densities that do an exceptional job of modeling on sediment is transported and deposited in natural river systems.  We use anywhere between 50-80 pounds of plastic within the stream table for student use.





The idea of using a large stream table came from seeing an example created by the folks at Little River Research & Design (http://www.emriver.com/).