The weather’s heating up, and that can only mean one thing. It’s time to hit the Walt Disney World water parks!
Let’s head first to Blizzard Beach, which by the way, just turned 19 two months ago. Blizzard Beach began as a ski resort, as legend holds, when a freak winter storm blew through and blanketed central Florida in piles and piles of fluffy white snow. Of course, the southern sun melted it away quickly, but one innovative alligator—Ice Gator, as he’s known—slid down the icy slush and turned the whole area into big waterful fun.
One of my family’s favorite attractions at Blizzard Beach is one the whole family can enjoy together. Teamboat Springs is the longest, family whitewater raft ride in the world! The 1,200-foot “river” begins at the top of Mt. Gushmore, near the climb to Summit Plummet. Here, those who dare the raging rapids board large, round floats that hold up to six passengers (perfect for our family of 5, seen below sans the Disney dad).
Passengers are at the mercy of gravity as their rafts bank left and right and rotate randomly, occasionally drenching them with splashes and sprays as they twist and turn their way down this super-long, super-wide waterslide. You don’t hang 10 here; you hang on!
The riverbed of Teamboat Springs is an artificial surface, but in real life, roaring rapids, twisting riverbends, and plunging waterfalls can cause considerable ground erosion over time and can even reshape the land.
Today, check out this Hotchalk Lesson Plan discussing and exploring water and other types of erosion. Your students will learn to identify different types of erosion, predict the outcomes of various means of erosion, distinguish variables that influence rate of change, express whether people can change rate of erosion of structures, and more.
If you do not have access to the necessary materials, visit www.STEMsims.com to observe a virtual erosion control experiment. Your students will be challenged to build a basketball court at the bottom of a hillside. His or her task is to study erosion factors and methods to control erosion and then construct the most stable end product. Experiment with different options until you discover what works the best.
SCHOOL SUBJECT: Earth science
SKILL LEVEL: Upper elementary to middle grades
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