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Structures Withstanding Flooding

A flood can occur when dams or levees break, or when there is heavy rainfall or snow melting quickly. Flash floods occur when heavy rainfall exceeds the ability of the ground to absorb it. Bridges are built to travel over bodies of water during flash flooding. Those bridges need to be built a certain way so further floods will not damage them. 

Cresco, Iowa

Possible Guiding, Compelling and/or Anchoring Questions

  • What are some different weather conditions that can create dangerous environments?
  • How does flooding occur and what can be done to prevent it?
  • What areas would be more at risk for flooding and how can those areas be safeguarded?
  • What kind of bridges are the most beneficial for withstanding floods?
  • What are some things to keep in mind when building a bridge?

Classroom Suggestions

  • This standard focuses on the merit of a design solution that reduces the impact of weather-related hazards
  • Students can explore different ways that flooding can occur and different preventive measures that are in place to reduce the impacts
  • Explore the effects of the Iowa floods of 2008 (damage and prevention) 
  • Students can complete an experiment where they would explore what materials are most absorbent and keep the most water out
  • Students can complete an inquiry project where they build their own bridges with the goal of withstanding a flood. 

Related Resources

How to Control the Flooding?: An activity for students to complete that allows them to explore what materials would be most absorbent.
Flood of 2008, Cedar Rapids, Iowa: This video describes the damages that were caused by the flood of 2008 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Dams | Science Trek: A dam is a structure that blocks a waterway and allows the water to be used differently. These videos include explanations about how dams protect against flooding. 

    Iowa Core Alignment


    Make a claim about the merit of a design solution that reduces the impacts of a weather-related hazard.

    Credit Info

    Submitted by Breya Christopher and Annie Mast


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