Flooding occurs around the world every year, causes billions of dollars of damage and takes lives. Flood awareness at a young age leads to more interest in developing flood prevention techniques, and a greater inclination to help the victims of flooding.
Set a funnel on the opening of a jar or other waterproof container and fill it with sand or soil. Have students pour a measured amount of water into the funnel, then remove the funnel and measure the amount of water collected in the jar. Ask students to calculate how much of the water was absorbed by the soil. Experiment with different sand or soil types, using the same amount of sand or soil, and the same amount of water, in each experiment. Ask students to explain the relationship between soil absorbency and flooding.
Set up a segment of rain gutter at an angle, with the lower end resting in a bucket or other waterproof container. Fill the gutter segment with sand. Pour water into the top of the gutter segment. Have students observe the time it takes for the water to travel from the high end of the gutter segment to the low end. Using the time measurement and the angle of the gutter segment, have students calculate the velocity of the water runoff. Experiment with different gutter segment angles, different amounts of water and different types of soil.
Dams, Levees and Sandbags
Allow students to build model levees or dams. The models should be built within a waterproof container and should separate the interior of the container into two sections. Test the models for effectiveness by pouring water into one section of the container. Ask students to observe which levees or dams are most effective. Sandbags can also be tested in this manner. Have students create sandbags using a variety of materials, then test them to see which materials work best.
Mark a spot at the edge of a tidal zone or river with a stake. Have students measure the depth of the water at different times of the day, over the course of the school year, or before and after a heavy rain. Ask students to record the measurements in a notebook or journal, as well as weather patterns, moon cycles and other factors that might influence the water level. At the end of the allotted time, have students write a conclusion or give a presentation on how the recorded factors influence the water level and why it is important when considering flooding. Ask students to study a map of a river or coastal zone, along with the weather patterns and common soil type for the area, and determine the area's flood risk.
Real Life Events
Show your students news clips or documentaries about floods that have occurred, or flooding in general. Ask your students about their experiences with flooding and have them interview people who have experienced flooding. Review statistics in class pertaining to the damages, losses and environmental impact of flooding.