Last week, Margaret Enloe, the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Communications Director, contributed an excellent guest blog about the impacts September’s flooding event had on the Bay. Now that you understand some of the Bay dynamics that may have been influenced by the recent influx of water, sediment, nutrients, and contaminants, let’s examine how you can convey this information to your students.
Don’t worry; you are not up a flooded creek without a paddle. There is a wealth of lesson plans available to help you teach about flooding, many of which are aligned with national content standards! Here are a few samples to help you get started:
- Flood! – In this Discovery Education lesson plan, students in grades 6-8 will discover that different types of soil have different capacities for retaining rainwater. At the end of the lesson, they should also understand that if the soil in an area is already saturated with rainwater, flooding problems can ensue.
- Floods: Rising Waters and You – 9-12 graders will investigate the relationships between human-made structures and flood waters in these PBS American Field Guide Lessons.
- Flood! Classroom Activity – Students will construct a model of a river system and explore the use of manmade levees in this NOVA Teachers lesson plan.
- Floods – Young students can learn about and play games related to floods on FEMA’s For Kids website. Children can read “The River Rises; The Disaster Twins’ Flood Story,” take a flood math quiz, or play the “Water, Wind, and Earth Game.”
- What is a Flood Plain? – Its not all science when if comes to flooding. PBS has developed this lesson for 7-12 grade classrooms that wish to address content related to economics and/or geography.
- Ancient Flood Stories – National Geographic has provided this lesson to help educators discuss the evidence that ancient floods may have helped to create the Black Sea. Students will practice their creative writing by composing stories about what it might have been like immediately before and during the flood.
Ask a Scientist
Remember to end your flooding lesson by “bringing it local!” Discussing the impacts that September’s flooding had on the Chesapeake Bay, and on areas within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, will provide your students with a real-world example that they have experienced. Ask your students if their families took any steps to prepare for the flooding (see FEMA’s Flood website for helpful safety tips), or discuss what happened on school grounds. This can help bring your flooding lesson to life, and ensure that it is relevant to your students.
Another great way to get your students interested in learning about floods and our local watershed is to have them interact with professionals who work in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) related fields. The Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership has many experts across the watershed who can answer your class’s emailed questions about the response of the streams, rivers and the Bay to the extreme rainfalls and flood conditions. You can have your class assemble a list of their questions, and email them to us using this online form. The Chesapeake Bay Program has experts on the following flooding-related topics:
- River flow, flood conditions, loads of pollutants, comparison of other major flood events
- Impacts of flood event on MD’s Bay waters and living resources
- River monitoring in MD
- Impacts of flood event on VA’s Bay waters and living resources
- River monitoring in VA
- River monitoring in PA
- Monitoring in PA and New York
- Overall watershed-wide effects and how CBP partners are monitoring the impacts
- Data and info from NOAA Bay monitoring buoys, research vessels, and satellite imagery
- Impacts on the Bay/other contacts in the watershed for more information