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        Idaho | Activity 2.2: Portrait of the Snake River

        Unit 2: Geography

        Over the course of this Unit, students will come to understand that the physical environment is not static. Through geological processes and human action, seemingly fixed aspects of the landscape are constantly changing and have always been doing so. As the Earth influences how people live, how people live, in turn, affects the Earth.

        Lesson Summary

        Students watch a video about the Snake River. They learn about river formation and the power of water. Students label a map of the Snake River and define the different parts of a river.

        Standards: 4.SS.2.1.1 Use geographic skills to collect, analyze, interpret, and communicate data.

        Time Allotment

        15 minutes



        1. Tell students they will be watching a video about the Snake River. Instruct them to pay close attention to the terms the video explains, such as a meander or oxbow.

        2. Play the video, Rivers | Science Trek [3:40].

        3. Ask students: where does the water that feeds a river come from?

        4. Distribute the Snake River Map handout and have students follow its instructions.

        5. Project the image, The Tetons and the Snake River by Ansel Adams.

        1. Based on the information in the video, ask students to define the terms: inner bank, outer bank, and a meander. Can anyone in the class point to these spots on the river image?

        Answer Key

        Discussion questions:

        1. Creeks and streams, underground springs, snowfall and rain
        1. Inner – where sediments are deposited by water

          Outer – where water erodes and washes away the land

          Meander – the curve of a waterway

          On the closer curve, the inner is the east and outer bank is the west. Meander is the turn.


        1. Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington

        2. Circles will be on western parts of Idaho

        3. Oregon and Washington


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