Major Themes for the Unit

  • Scientific themes: Watersheds, Human Impacts of Water Diversion, Soil & Water Quality
  • Scientific practice: Argumentation and Explanation Construction
  • SSI: Are river district communities (cities, towns, landowners located along river shorelines) entitled to engage in river management projects (levees, dams, etc.) to protect their property from floodwaters?


Driving Question: What are the implications of river management on river district communities?


Concepts needed to explore the driving question

  • Science concepts:
    • Watersheds
    • River management
    • Water & soil quality
  • Social concerns influencing negotiation of the issue:
    • Environmental
    • Economics
    • Politics
    • Social


Unit-level performance expectations

  • Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems (NGSS HS-ESS3-4).
  • Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity (NGSSHS-ESS3-6) .
  • Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity (NGSS HS-ESS3-1).


Unit assessment(s)

  • CER chart- Intro to Unit
  • The effect of river management lab 
  • Soil Testing Lab for soil texture and wikiwater shed model
  • Soil Testing lab for nutrients
  • Culminating Project


Lesson sequences



The materials associated with the Vanishing Prairie Unit are based upon work supported by The Missouri Transect, a National Science Foundation EPSCoR Program, Cooperative Agreement IIA-1355406. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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