Teaching Students About Glacial Valley
As educators, one of our goals is to help students understand and appreciate the natural world around them. Among the most incredible natural wonders of the world are glacial valleys. Therefore, introducing and teaching students about glacial valley is an excellent way to inspire their sense of wonder and appreciation for the planet. Here’s how to help students learn about these awe-inspiring geological features.
Begin with the Basics
Begin by defining the term “glacial valley.” A glacial valley is a landform carved out by glaciers. These valleys are created as glaciers move along the landscape, plucking rocks, and scouring the ground. They form parallel to the direction of the glacier’s movement and often appear U-shaped on maps.
Discuss the Formation Process
The next step is to explain how glaciers form and erode valleys. Start by discussing the water cycle and how it works, including precipitation, runoff, and evaporation. Then explain how snow accumulates and compresses into ice, which in turn presses down onto the ground and moves down the slope due to the natural movement of ice. Also, discuss the properties and importance of glacial abrasion, plucking, melting, deposition, and changes in sea level.
Show Real-Life Examples
Provide visual aids such as photographs, videos, and diagrams to illustrate the concept. Show how glacial valleys appear from a satellite from across the globe and examples of prominent glacial valleys around the world such as Mer de Glace in France, Lauterbrunnen Valley of Switzerland, Yosemite Valley and Matanuska Valley of Alaska, The Himalayas in Asia, Patagonia in Argentina, and so on.
Bring it Into a Classroom Activity
It is always essential to supplement theoretical learning with interactive, hands-on classroom activities. For glacial valleys, have students use sandboxes and toy glaciers to simulate the process of glacial erosion and deposition. Students can even design and build models of glacial valleys using easily accessible tools and materials.
The Benefits of Studying Glacial Valleys
Studying glacial valleys can be incredibly beneficial both academically and in life. Knowledge of the geologic formation of these natural wonders enables students to understand how the Earth’s physical components came into being. Also, learning about the formation and existence of glacial valleys teaches the importance of careful natural resource management. Additionally, it inspires students to appreciate and celebrate the planet’s breathtaking natural beauty.