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Watershed Model at the Regatta


IUPUI was home once again to the annual Regatta race on the Canal in downtown Indianapolis. As a part of the School of Science, the Center for Earth and Environmental Science was invited to be a part of the celebration and bring a demonstration for the attendees to enjoy. We naturally chose the most entertaining and interactive program in our arsenal: the watershed model.

The watershed model is a stainless steel tub equipped with a water pump and filled with cryogenically ground thermoplastic. The plastic acts as sediment and allows users to manipulate the landscape to create various types of riverine systems. The model also helps to demonstrate the effects of in-channel gravel mining, dams, erosion and flooding. There are many more applications that can be applied, which is only half of the reason the model is such a wonderful tool.

The second reason is how much the model naturally engaged the children and adults that happened by. There is a feel that one is playing in a giant sandbox that many could not resist. They could place houses, trees and some small animals to view the effects of rising water. Most of the children that stopped by the booth had a strong interest in science and thought it was great that they could test their own hypothesis and play at the same time. Many of the adults shared the same sentiment.


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