This program describes some of the meteorological and hydrological forces
that can cause a flood. Before showing the program, review some of the terms
that will be presented, such as floodplain, flood crest, watershed, runoff,
levee, and dam. As students watch the program, have them pay
attention to the use of these terms in relation to the flooding depicted in the
Using a set of topographical maps of the United States (showing state
boundaries), have students locate the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, noting
the names and number of states and regions of the country through which these
two large rivers flow. In addition, have students try to locate some of the
principal tributaries that feed into the rivers. Point out that all of the
smaller waterways combine to send water south to the Gulf of Mexico. As they
watch the program, encourage students to observe the results of the continued
additions of water from more and more tributaries during the buildup of the
Great Flood of 1993.
After students have watched this program, ask them to explain their
understanding of how a levee works. What is the significance of the shape and
size of a levee? What are some of the consequences of building a levee?
Some experts in the program argue that human interference with the rivers and
the surrounding terrain was a significant factor in the flooding that occurred
in the summer of 1993. In addition, they point to the risks that people take
when they choose to live in a floodplain. What do students think they think
about the effect of human interference with the natural flow of the rivers?
What are some of the reasons that people build their homes, farms, and
businesses in the floodplain?