Lesson plan: The threatening effects of erosion
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- Determine the cause and effects of erosion.
- Develop different alternatives to assist in preventing erosion.
National Science Education Standards
- High school students will learn that interactions among the solid earth, the oceans, the atmosphere and organisms have resulted in the ongoing evolution of the earth system.
- High school students will learn that scientific inquiry is driven by the desire to understand the natural world and technological design is driven by the need to meet human needs and solve human problems.
Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Acting in their areas of expertise, scientists can help people understand the likely causes of events and estimate their possible effects.
CNNfyi article, "Beaches on the brink"
"Between a rock and a hard place" demonstration
One to three class periods
1. Ask students:
- Why are the foundations of some beachfront buildings becoming unstable?
- What is erosion?
- What do you think causes erosion?
2. Introduce and define erosion.
3. Use the teacher demonstration of Between a rock and a hard place.
4. Use the given discussion questions:
- What happens to the clay when the hose is turned on?
- What would the Earth look like after hundreds of years of damage caused by erosion?
5. Have students read the CNNfyi article "Beaches on the brink." Then ask students the following questions:
- According to the article, what are some specific examples of problems caused by erosion?
- Why is it important that we understand the causes and effects of erosion?
- What are some actions we can undertake to prevent erosion?
- In the article, Stuart Stevens, chief of ecological services with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, said that harbors, seawalls, dredging, manmade inlets, jetties and bulkheads all contribute to erosion. They affect natural water currents and prevent sand from shifting down coastlines to replenish beaches. Based on this statement, how do you think human action affects erosion?
- What impact will erosion have in the United States?
6. Place students into groups of five. Explain to students that their challenge is to develop a plan for their town to prevent erosion. Present the following scenario: Your town is washing away. You must take action. Erosion continues to claim more and more of your coastline. You do not want coastline properties to be destroyed.
7. Each group will conduct a town meeting in which the group will create a plan that is scientifically sound, feasible and cost-effective to prevent erosion of the town. At their meeting, the objectives are the following:
8. Have groups present their plans to the class.
- Determine a plan for both the immediate and long-term effects of erosion.
- Develop a plan to minimize the damage from erosion.
- Estimate how much the project would cost. Is this a feasible plan? How would funds be secured for this project?
Based on the plans presented, have each student write a brief summary of the most effective plan. Direct each student to justify why he/she has chosen this plan.
In the CNNfyi article, Bob Friedman, one of the researchers who conducted an erosion study for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said that there are some expectations that sea-level rises might accelerate during the next 50 to 100 years because of global warming.
1. Have students research global warming.
2. Discuss the interrelation among erosion, global warming and storm intensity and frequency.
- What is the connection between global warming and erosion?
- Is there a greater amount of land loss due to higher sea levels caused by ice caps melting?
- Are storms and hurricanes more frequent and more intense because of global warming?
National Ocean Service
Losses from coastal erosion
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