PHLOW - Potomac Headwaters Leaders of Watersheds 

Stream Table - East Hardy HS, WV

Students from East Hardy High School built a "stream table" in June 2008 as a class service learning project.  A stream table is, basically, a waterproof box that is filled with sand and pitched on a slight angle.  Water is recirculated from the top to the bottom.  As the water flows down the stream table, a meandering "stream" channel slowly in the sand.  The table models the process of stream development in a floodplain, and demonstrates the process of erosion. 

The stream table allows people to experiment with stream processes that normally can only be observed in the field.

Construction of the table was funded by FLOW - Future Leaders of Watersheds, a program of the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service.  The table will be used by the WV Department of Environmental Protection, WV Conservation Agency, local schools, and non-profits.

Stream tables can be built in may ways.  The students built four tables using slightly different methods on each one.  The one we liked best is a simple 2'x4' table that uses one bag of sand (about 80lbs) and a simple electric aquarium pump.  The electric pump is optional because at this scale it is possible to recirculate the water manually using buckets (see video at right for a power-free demonstration). 

Click here for a material list and instructions (downloadable PDF file, 180 KB). 

Things to remember when building a stream table!
Measure twice, cut once! Work together! Look cool!


Cacapon Institute - From the Cacapon to the Potomac to the Chesapeake Bay, we protect rivers and watersheds using science and education.

Cacapon Institute
PO Box 68
High View, WV 26808
304-856-1385 (tele)
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Frank Rodgers,  Executive Director

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