Flood Management Plan

Tuesday 1:30pm-2:40pm
Share-a-Thon Part of Share-a-Thon


Karen Helgers, Ulster County Community College


I will share more details about the activity and answer any questions.


In this exploration, students work in groups to develop a watershed-based plan to control flooding. Students are first given information about a historic downstream flood and then work together to develop multiple ideas for flood management actions. They then jigsaw with other groups to develop the following details about one or more of the actions. 1. Recommendation/Description of Proposed Action 2. Advantages (Why undertake this action? What will it accomplish?) 3. Costs 4. Responsible Parties (government, landowners, schools, conservation groups, etc) 5. Time Frame 6. Controversy (drawbacks, challenges and anticipated objections). Students then explain their recommendation(s) to their original groups who then choose their top two ideas to recommend to the class.

Learning Outcomes Achieved:

  • Students apply scientific knowledge of river processes and the hydrologic cycle to a real life situation
  • Students analyze interactions between human society and natural processes
  • Students apply critical thinking to evaluate ideas originating outside of their groups
  • Students analyze multiple ideas to synthesize a final plan, integrating their initial concepts with new information gleaned through the jigsaw portion of the activity


I use this after introducing the concepts of watersheds, flooding, river processes and flood management. Students watch the 1993 Nova Flood! video prior to participating in the activity. The target audience is a 100 level Earth's Environment course which includes both Environmental Studies majors and students with very limited science background.

Why It Works

It allows students of all backgrounds to participate and share ideas. It models tasks and processes that would be used in a geoscience career. I have used this multiple times and have found it results in positive learning outcomes. I've found that it gets students very involved in their own learning and an unintended consequence is that they become very comfortable sharing their ideas with each other and the class as a whole.