The Colorado River - A Case Study

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to use multiple data sources to evaluate the effectiveness of the  Colorado River Pact of 1922

Standards Addressed

PA Science Standards

3.3.6.A1. Recognize and interpret various mapping representations of Earth’s common features.
3.3.6.A4. Describe how water on earth cycles in different forms and in different locations, including underground and in the atmosphere.
3.3.7.A6. MODELS/SCALES- Locate significant geological structures using various mapping representations.
4.2.7.A. - Explain how water enters, moves through and leaves a watershed. 

Describe factors that affect the flow and water quality within a watershed.

4.2.10 - Examine the interactions between abiotic and biotic factors with in a watershed
4.2.12.A. - Examine environmental laws related to land use management and its impact on the water quality and flow within a watershed.

NGSS Standards

MS-ESS2-4: Global movements of water and its changes in form are propelled by sunlight and gravity.
MS-ESS2.C: Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land.

Supplies/Materials/Articles Needed

Copies of student activities and materials for presentation as determined by teacher (electronic or paper)

Class Time Required

Three (45 minute) class periods (1 for data analysis, one to develop proposal and 1 for presentation of proposals)

Activity Description

Students will investigate data sources on snowpack, temperature, streamflow and population changes through out the watershed of the Colorado River.  They will analyze the impact these factors have on the effectiveness of the Colorado River Pact of 1922 and propose changes to the Pact to help with the current water dilemma in the region.

  • Part 1: Rocky Mountain Snowpack Graphs
  • Part 2: Rocky Mountain Spring Temperatures
  • Part 3: Streamflow Over Time
  • Part 4: The Colorado River Watershed
  • Part 5: Population Over Time
  • Part 6: Looking Forward