Where's the Beach? – Investigating Ways to Protect Shorelines from Erosion

Contributor
Nature Works Everywhere
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This lesson engages students in exploring the phenomenon of soil erosion at the beach, and in designing solutions to mitigate it.  In part one of this lesson, students research how wave energy affects shorelines, predict the relationship between waves and erosion, and use historic data to study the effects of tides and major storms on the Gulf Coast. They use videos, photos, and an online interactive tool to study the impact of erosion on the Gulf Coast. Students investigate the exponential relationship between wave height and energy. Students begin to describe types of barriers to protect shorelines from waves. Then, in part two of the lesson, students research a natural oyster reef as a barrier and more extensive, man-made barriers. They create a model shoreline and test the impact of waves on their shoreline with different types of barriers. As the final extension, students create a cost-benefit analysis of different types of barriers and predict which would be the best to use in certain environments.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 7
  • Grade 6
  • High School
  • Middle School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

MS-LS2-5 Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Clarification Statement: Examples of ecosystem services could include water purification, nutrient recycling, and prevention of soil erosion. Examples of design solution constraints could include scientific, economic, and social considerations.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This lesson explicitly engages students in exploring competing designs (oyster reefs and concrete seawalls)to protect shorelines from erosion. It provides grade-appropriate connections to Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. There is potential for Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts as well but the teacher will have to decide how and when to provide these opportunities. The biodiversity of oyster reefs can be discussed and investigated to include maintaining biodiversity. A good additional resource is the Bayquest on http://bayville.thinkport.org/default_flash.aspx

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
In session 2, student groups are presented with an engineering challenge to propose the best barrier to use in a high energy environment and a low energy environment.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This lesson provides a very powerful opportunity for students to make sense of phenomena and design a solution to protect coastlines from erosion. They will use student-generated data as well as data available online to construct an explanation that includes relationships between variables that predict phenomena.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
A five-minute introductory video will engage students quickly as the dire cost to humans of coastal erosion is explained. Background information for the teacher and a rich supply of web resources provide opportunities to make sense of how changes in biodiversity can influence ecosystem services that humans rely on.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The main thrust of this lesson is provide students with an opportunity to design a solution to a critical problem facing coastal areas.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
In this lesson, students investigate the impact of one part of the system (barriers in the ocean)on another part of the system(shoreline). Session 1 culminates in students constructing an explanation between the quantitative relationships between the variables of wave height and wave energy, and the impact of that relationship on coastal erosion.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The activity for wave energy in session 1 provides a connection to Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. As students connect the relationship between wave height and energy using graphs, they will be tracking energy flow from waves to shorelines.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson provides students opportunities to use elements of the practice of designing solutions, the disciplinary core idea of engineering design, and crosscutting concept of systems and systems modeling to support three dimensional learning. Students use science, math, and engineering skills in order to solve a real-world problem. The lesson integrates real-world data as students design solutions for shoreline erosion.

  • Instructional Supports: The lesson engages students in an authentic and meaningful scenario, but the impact of that engagement may be less for students who do not reside near a coastal area. Excellent teacher background information is provided, but some of the instructions are slightly unclear. A teacher without a strong background in wave energy may struggle to understand some of the student directions. The lesson could be adapted for other shorelines than the Gulf Coast, but the teacher would need to research supplementary pictures and videos for the engage portion of the lesson. The lesson does instruct for heterogeneous grouping, but does not scaffold the instruction for struggling learners.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Formative assessment ideas are provided, but the rubrics and scoring guidelines are weak.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: Videos, pictures, slideshows, and an interactive website are all included and all links are operational.