The idea for this activity came from the “Watershed in your Hands” Lesson from Save the Bay’s watershed curriculum (downloadable below). I have also seen Mike Moran, a naturalist at Black Diamond Mines, present this lesson at a teacher workshop in much the same way as I have described here – although his presentation is far better in my estimation.
Hubbard Scientific makes exceptional relief maps for most states. The California relief map is aroun $30 and is absolutely worth the cost. Students love the tactile quality of running their fingers across the mountains and much more readily grasp the idea of topographic maps in later lessons.
The USGS Store has the best deal on maps. For around $7-10 you get gorgeous relief maps and satellite images. The California State relief map is product #43555. The San Francisco Bay satellite image is #47251. You can find a map for virtually any US geographical area.
Blank line drawing California maps for students to color and label may be printed from Net State.
There are excellent free digital satellite images that may be downloaded and printed on the USGS website.
History of the San Francisco Bay
Zpub.com has published an exceptional history of the San Francisco Bay.
Save the Bay’s Bay Classroom has a wonderful, kid-friendly Bay history section.
A gorgeous book was recently put together by the Bay Institute and the Audubon Society called San Francisco Bay: Portrait of an Estuary.
The Bay Institute also has produced an excellent report about the history of the San Francisco Bay called From the Sierra to the Sea: The Ecological History of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Watershed. The full report can be downloaded for free from the internet.
The San Francisco Estuary Project has a number of excellent fact sheets that may be downloaded and printed out.
And if these aren’t enough, go to the California Academy of Science San Francisco Bay resources list. They provide a huge list of books, videos, scientific papers, curriculum guides, and more all related to the San Francisco Bay.
Teacher Training Opportunities
I attended Save the Bay’s “Gold Rush to the Golden Gate” summer teacher training which was an extraordinary experience. We camped and canoed all along the watershed, experiencing the watershed first hand and drawing connections between the various parts of the watershed through speakers, activities, and discussions. GO! It’s amazing!
The Watershed Project offers wonderful training opportunities for teachers about the San Francisco Bay and its watershed.
Plate Tectonics and Earth’s Structure
Plate tectonics accounts for important features of Earth’s surface and major geologic events. As a basis for understanding this concept:
f. Students know how to explain major features of California geology (including mountains, faults, volcanoes) in terms of plate tectonics.
Shaping Earth’s Surface
Topography is reshaped by the weathering of rock and soil and by the transportation and deposition of sediment. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know water running downhill is the dominant process in shaping the landscape, including California’s landscape.
b. Students know rivers and streams are dynamic systems that erode, transport sediment, change course, and flood their banks in natural and recurring patterns.
d. Students know earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and floods change human and wildlife habitats.