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Beat The Flood



Beat The Flood is a STEM resource that promotes critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration.

This resource has students look at flooding around the world and learn more about flood-resistant housing. As we know, flooding due to climate change can have a devastating effect on people's lives. In this resource, students explore how STEM skills can be used to help the fictitious island of Watu and its surrounding communities be better prepared for flooding. 

This lesson is set as a challenge where students will work as a team to design and make a model of a home able to withstand the effects of flooding. They will then test the design by standing it in water and blasting it with a hose pipe. 

This challenge is perfect for STEM clubs or integrating STEM activities in your classroom lessons. It is designed to help students tackle a pressing global issue from a variety of perspectives. The activity is flexible, adaptable, and can be done in one day or in several lessons. In this resource, you will find rich learning activities that will engage your students in the challenge and a flexible framework that can be adapted to suit your needs. 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Building a model of a community
  • Self management
  • Team work
  • Problem Solving
  • Research
  • Communication
  • Reflective practice
  • Conducting a strength test
  • Conducting an absorbency test
  • Costing a home


  • This resource has some required lessons and some optional lessons giving the teacher choice as to how many lessons they want to complete
  • This is a STEM resource
  • Upon completion of certain aspects of this resource, students will be eligible for a Crest Discovery Award
  • The lessons are well planned for teachers
  • All materials for students are available 
  • This resource connects well the social, environmental. and economic dimension of climate change


  • There is no opportunity for students to connect to their immediate community
  • Students do not have to present their findings to an audience
  • No assessment tools are provided

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This lesson is a STEM resource and therefore is excellent for Science, Math and Technology courses. It promotes critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and communication on top of certain curriculum outcomes. 

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science for Citizens 11:Scientific processes and knowledge inform our decisions and impact our daily lives
        • Science for Citizenship 11: Scientific understanding enables humans to respond and adapt to changes locally and globally
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Current Topics in the Sciences 30S: Science, Technology, Society & the Environment
        • Current Topics in the Sciences 30S: Scientific & Technological Skills & Attitudes
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interdisciplinary Topics in Science 40S: Science, Technology, Society and the Environment
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Geography 3200/3202: Land and Water Forms
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Technological Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Technology Education 9: Fundamentals of Technology Education
        • Technology Education 9:Innovation and Inventions
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Technological Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Exploring Technologies (Open): Technological Skills
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Technological Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Construction Technolgy (Open) Design, Layout and Planning Skills
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Impacts of Change
        • Spheres of the Earth
        • Forces of Nature: Physical Processes and Disasters (Univ./College Prep.)
        • Forces of Nature: Physical Processes and Disasters (Univ./College Prep.): Spacial Organization
        • Forces of Nature: Physical Processes and Disasters (Univ./College Prep.): The Physical Environment: Sustainability and Stewardship
        • Forces of Nature: processes and Disasters (Univ./College Prep.): Systems: Interactions and Interdependece
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 10: Climate
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science for Citizens 11:Scientific processes and knowledge inform our decisions and impact our daily lives

Themes Addressed

Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

  • Climate Change

Citizenship (1)

  • Community-Building and Participation

Science and Technology (2)

  • Alternative Ways of Doing Science
  • Appropriate Technology

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

This resource introduces the issue well and does not point students towards only one point of view. In contrary, students have to form opinions on different things and often defend their choices.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very Good

In Beat The Flood, students will explore climate change, communities being devastated by flooding, and costs of building materials. These lessons are making it is clear that the environmental, social and economic dimensions are connected.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Very Good
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered
Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good

In Beat The Flood, students have to come up with their own design and model. As well, students will have to choose and defend their choices. 

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

Beat the flood enables students to learn about the effects of flooding, and the role of development organisations that support communities to develop homes that reduce their vulnerability to changing climates. Throughout this resource students will develop an empathy for different groups of people and the effects of flooding on their lives. 

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good

Students are building models of communities that can withstand flooding creating an appreciation and a concern for the natural world.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

Even though the challenge is set in the fictitious island of Watu, students can definitely connect with the idea of flooding in their own communities.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Very Good

The goal of this lesson is to create flood resistant communities for our future. The need is here because our past actions have caused climate change. Therefore, this resource clearly promotes an understanding of the past, present and future.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

Students have the ability to decide how they want to proceed during the building of the model.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Very Good

This resource is a STEM resource and therefore incorporates skills from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. As well, it is clear that Social Studies outcomes are being met in the understanding of the issue.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

Students are faced with the issue of communities that are flooding due to climate change. In turn, they are asked to design and build models that would withstand these floods in an effort to help certain communities.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.


Differentiated Instruction Good

The wide range of activities in this resource addresses well the needs of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. However, no strategies are included for learners with difficulties.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

Students make a small scale model of a community that needs to withstand a simulated flood.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Good

It would be difficult for students to be successful at these challenges if they were not working in a group therefore they need to learn certain cooperative skills.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Poor/Not considered

No assessments or evaluations are provided in this resource.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

Although the Island Watu is fictional, students are looking at some real images of flooding that has devastated communities around the world

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Very Good

Students completely choose their design and build their own model. As well, there are opportunities for extension activities in the resource

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.