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Viewing Ideas

Before Watching

  1. 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 program.

  2. 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 Watching

  1. 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?

  2. 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?

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