Educator Resources

Research Activity

Establish Prior Knowledge

Discuss with students what makes a river healthy and the difference between rivers that are allowed to run freely and those that are modified with dams and levees. Tell students that in the Snapshot they are about to see, scientists are looking at how a natural ecosystem is being restored along the free-flowing Cosumnes River in California.


Have students view the Snapshot and read the synopsis. Working in small teams, have students research the following topics:

1. What are the major river zones and how do they work?

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2.  Why are the connections between a river and its banks and floodplains important to the river’s health?

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3. How does flooding help to restore a natural ecosystem?

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4. What is unique about the Consumnes River?


5. What is the Consumnes River Preserve conservation project?



When teams have finished have them report their findings to the rest of the class. Then close the discussion using the following questions.

1. What have you learned about rivers that you didn’t know before?

2. Is it necessarily a bad thing when a river overflows its banks?

3. Do you think flooding will ultimately help or hurt agricultural fields? Why?