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Interpreting the Evidence

Hector Falls in Winter, Watkins Glen, c. 1900

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:


  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:

    Finger Lakes
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Hector Falls in Winter, Watkins Glen, c. 1900 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
The frozen Hector Falls near Watkins Glen, New York, circa 1900.
Historical Context
For a waterfall to freeze, the temperature has to be very cold.  Water is made of tiny, moving particles called molecules.  When water gets cold, the molecules slow down and stick together, forming ice.  Because water flows very quickly at a waterfall, the water molecules are usually moving too fast to get stuck together, even if they are cold.  However, if the temperature gets cold enough, water molecules at a waterfall will slow down enough to form ice.  After the first ice crystals form, the rest of the waterfall freezes more easily.
Essential Question
How does geography impact culture and economic systems?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain the influence of this water source on New York's culture and economy.
Historical Challenges
When was the last time Hector Falls froze?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Science: Investigate how waterfalls are formed.
Science: Research the largest waterfall in New York State. Give five facts about it and describe where it is located.
English Language Arts: Write an essay comparing and contrasting two waterfalls in New York State.