Boating Your way to Geographic Understanding
From OpenContent Curriculum
Boating a Big River
This is a learning activity that integrates map reading skills, geography, math, and writing.
BSSD Standards Addressed
SS.A.14 Identifies geographical regions and features of Alaska.
Students will become familiar with important geographic features in the state......... maps, and research. To accomplish this objective: The student will plan a trip of _______ days, or __________ miles up a river. They will determine a fuel plan including a fuel budget.
Begin by looking at a map of Alaska which shows topographic features. Choose one of the major rivers- either the Yukon or the Kuskokwim. The river you choose will be where you plan your trip.
- How much will the fuel cost?
- How much tank volume will be needed in the boat (to safely travel between fueling points)?
- How often will you stop for fuel?
- How much time and/or distance can be covered per day considering fuel sales hours?
- Your outboard gets 4 miles per gallon.
- Your average speed at 90% of WOT (wide open throttle) is 26 miles per hour.
- Your boat has a maximum gross load of 2000 pounds. Remember, when considering the fuel load, that you will also be carrying camping gear and passenger(s). The motor and and battery are also part of the gross. Also be aware that a maximum load will push the boat lower in the water which will reduce fuel economy and make sand bars and other submerged obstacles more hazardous.
- Fuel costs ________ per gallon on average (or you could use this as an opportunity to practice phone skills by calling actual fuel sales entities along the chosen river to get actual prices. If you do this, you might also discover other details such as whether there are dock fuel sales or no, or whether fuel delivery is available - and associated costs.)
- Fuel sales are usually made between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, though this can vary.
- Study the map to learn (and list) the villages you will encounter as you travel upriver from the mouth (or start at a given point along its length)
- Do some research to find out which of the villages are occupied and likely, barring local supply problems, to offer fuel sales
- Decide which villages you will stop in/at for purchasing fuel.
- Estimate distances between villages using the map scale.
- Determine the fuel range you will need to plan for in order to safely span the maximum distance between villages. Allow at least 33% margin when traveling against the current.
- Consider how far you will travel per day and when you will buy your fuel to maximize your potential travel time and distance.
This activity can be quite simple as it is presented here, or it can be expanded in many ways depending on the various content areas and numbers of standards and levels are being addressed.
Suggested ways to expand this project might include:
- Research the actual average speed of the chosen river
- Assuming 90% of WOT as a constant, calculate time and distance differences between upriver and downriver travel, and calculate estimated fuel use and cost differences.
- Research property rights/ land ownership and determine the legalities of or permissions needed to camp along the river. SS.A.17: ANCSA SS.A.13 ANCSA Corps
- Research the tidal effect along the river's length and how far it is a factor.
- Research the histories of villages and towns - both present and former- along the river.
- Research important events which occurred historically and how they have affected lives and places on the river. (Transportation) SS.A.16
- Research the factors which have caused changes in transportation along the river. (How has development of transportation infrastructure and technologies changed river transportation?) SS.A.16
- What are some people or places which have influenced or been influenced by the river?
- How has the river been important to the economy of Alaska (and perhaps other places as well)?
- Contact schools in villages along the way to learn important details.
- Obtain pictures of each village and the nearby terrain. Construct a photo collage of your river "trip".
- Text pages may be read orally if the material significantly challenges students' reading abilities.