Path Map for the Lake Bonneville Flood
handout exercisecomputer exercisesuggested grade levels: 7-10

view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

Lake Bonneville was more than 19,000 square miles and was almost 1,000 feet deeper than the present Great Salt Lakes. About 14,500 years ago, the water broke through Red Rock Pass and discharged an immense amount of water to the north, changing the landscape as it flowed. By doing this exercise, students will become more familiar with this dramatic event.

1. Students will become familiar with the Digital Atlas of Idaho.
2. Students will learn about an incredible historic event.
3. Students will be stimulated to study the natural processes that shape our earth.

Teachers should give students a small presentation on the Lake Bonneville Flood. The Lake Bonneville Food section of the Digital Atlas of Idaho can be used as a resource. To get there: Click on Atlas Home, mouse-over Hydrology, then click on Lake Bonneville Flood. Expose students to the main map on the Lake Bonneville Flood page so they get an idea of how large this lake once was. Tell them the history behind this event, teachers should use the information written in this site to obtain background information if needed. Break students into groups of 2-3 members. Print the Lake Bonneville map, graph, and tasks (supplied below) then encourage them to complete the activities.

These are links to access the handouts and printable materials.
Lake Bonneville Flood | hydr7ho.pdf

Handout Sample :
1.Using colored pens, pencils or crayons color the path of the Lake Bonneville Flood.
2.Circle Red Rock Pass.
3.Label "Lake Channel", an area that was scoured by the flood north of Massacre Rocks as the flood waters spread out in an area around American Falls, but then flowed back into the Snake River Canyon. Today this area called "Lake Channel" is dry.
4.Use the graph to make a timeline of the rise and fall of Lake Bonneville. Add the significant events of the flood to your timeline.
5. Discuss how you think the Flood would have changed the landscape?
[images supplied with handout]

Related Lesson Topics:
Hydrology: Hydrology Topics

Lesson plan by Vita Taube, 2000
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: