Lesson 901: Lee’s Ferry and into the Depths of the Grand Canyon

Boating through the Grand Canyon with a group of water experts provides a setting for reflection on the Colorado River—its power, its accomplishments, and its vulnerabilities. We put in at Lee’s Ferry and immediately are introduced to rapids and the evolution of the world’s greatest geological spectacle.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about the Grand Canyon and Colorado River including the challenges of water resources and potential threats to the canyon.

Social Studies Standards

People, Places & Environments: E, F, J

Discussion Prompts

  • It is stated in the video that the Grand Canyon is the greatest geological wonder of the world. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? What factors make it a geological wonder?
  • Would you want to go on the river raft trip that David Yetman and crew were on? How would you feel about the huge rapids and narrow pathways on the trip they took?
  • What are the main 3-4 potential threats to the Grand Canyon and why? It is stated that the canyon needs to be protected and honored. How can this be done?
  • 40 million people in this area require water but there’s not enough for this many people. Issues such as climate change and decreased flow are making it even more of a concern. What should be done to improve this issue and why?

Lesson Activities

  • You are a conservationist who has been asked to create an educational pamphlet that explains why rivers are important and shows how people depend on them for food and sustenance.
  • Write a hypothetical debate involving both perspectives of the recent Grand Canyon proposals aimed at increasing tourism. Include proposals to dam the canyon, create an aerial tramway, and install a helicopter pad. For each issue, write at least one paragraph for each side of the debate.
  • Write a public announcement calling for greater protection of the Colorado River from the perspective of a river guide, hydrologist and river conservationist with a minimum of one paragraph from each perspective.
  • You are leading a task force that oversees four committees focused on the top four reasons why the Colorado River is in trouble. Assign each team priority focus areas based on what you learned from the video.


  • cavern
  • drought
  • dynamics
  • ingenious
  • interwoven
  • outcry
  • pontoon
  • puny
  • rapids
  • sustenance


In the Americas Season 9 Lesson Episode 1