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Oregon Rainshadows

Oregon Rainshadows
Adapted from a lesson by Pat Bechtold

Overview:

This activity helps students identify causes of a rain shadow. Previous to this lesson, students have studied physical features of Oregon, types of vegetation and the water cycle.

Connection with the Curriculum:

Geography, Science, group decision making, fine motor skills

Teaching Level: Grades 3-6

Connection to State Content Standards:

Geography: Read, interpret and make maps, charts and graphs to explain spatial relationships.

Connection to National Standards:

Standard 1 How to use maps and other geographic representations.
Standard 7 The physical processes that shape the patterns of Earth's surface

Materials:

 

 

Blackline maps of

 

Oregon showing elevation

 

Maps of Oregon for reference

 

Markers/crayons

 

Overhead projector

 

Overhead blackline map of Oregon showing elevation

 

Overhead blackline map of

 

Oregon showing precipitation

Procedure:

  1. Ask, "Where do you think the highest places in Oregon are located?" Brainstorm answers, list on board or overhead. Begin working as a class to identify places from list on board and locate them on the map.
  2. Students then continue in pairs or groups to locate places from the list and place them on their maps. Some or all places may be labeled on the map as time and space allows. Establish a simple color code to use for different elevations. Students color in maps using established color code. Teacher colors in blackline elevation and circulates, helping students as needed.
  3. Present colored elevation map on overhead for class discussion. Present blackline precipitation map on overhead for discussion and comparison. Overlay maps for part of discussion. Students look for correlation between the two maps. Introduce the vocabulary "rain shadow". Students discuss how areas in the rain shadow might look compared to land not in shadow.

Extensions:

  1. Dramatize the water cycle
  2. Observe the rain shadow evidence while traveling (example - Portland to Warm Springs Museum)

Suggested Assessment

Scoring Guide for Oregon Rainshadows

4

All assigned places showing highest elevation in Oregon are labeled on black line map.

All colors of established color code are used to represent different elevations on map.

Map includes title, legend, and direction cross.

A paragraph describing the water cycle and the rain shadow effect (explains how elevation effects precipitation) is included.

All information given is accurate.

 

3

Most assigned places showing highest elevation in Oregon are labeled on black line map.

Most colors of established color code are used to represent different elevations on map.

Map includes title, legend, and direction cross.

A paragraph describing the water cycle and the rain shadow effect (explains how elevation effects precipitation) is included.

Most information given is accurate.

 

2

Some assigned places showing highest elevation in Oregon are labeled on black line map.

Some colors of established color code are used to represent different elevations on map. Map includes title, legend, and direction cross.

A paragraph describing the water cycle and the rain shadow effect (explains how elevation effects precipitation) is included.

Some information given is accurate.

 

1

A few assigned places showing highest elevation in Oregon are labeled on black line map.

A few colors of established color code are used to represent different elevations on map. Map includes title, legend, and direction cross.

A paragraph describing the water cycle and the rain shadow effect (explains how elevation effects precipitation) is included.

Information given is inaccurate.