S.C. Sea Grant Consortium

Coastal Heritage Curriculum Connection

Explore Curriculum Connection guides, which are written to accompany each issue of Coastal Heritage, a quarterly publication of the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.

Coastal Heritage, Fall 2014 issue: Water Cities: Can We Climate-Proof the Coast?

Focus Questions

  • What are two main reasons that Charleston is prone to flooding? Name two other cities that are also prone to flooding for the same reasons.
  • Describe the “living with nature” plan that the Dutch have engineered for stormwater management. What are two differences in their plan with traditional ways of managing flooding and stormwater?
  • What is “nuisance flooding” and what efforts are being used to assist with these events?
  • What are two impacts that can occur from filling in wetlands such salt marshes? What benefit(s) do salt marshes provide for flood mitigation?

Use the Curriculum Connection to address these South Carolina Standards

4th Grade: Weather

4-4.3 Summarize the conditions and effects of severe weather phenomena (including thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes) and related safety concerns.

5th Grade: Landforms and Oceans

5-2.3 Compare the characteristics of different ecosystems (including estuaries/salt marshes, oceans, lakes and ponds, forests, and grasslands).

5-3.4 Explain how waves, currents, tides, and storms affect the geologic features of the ocean shore zone (including beaches, barrier islands, estuaries, and inlets).

5-3.6 Explain how human activity (including conservation efforts and pollution) has affected the land and the oceans of Earth.

8th Grade: Earth’s Structure and Processes

8-3.9 Identify and illustrate geologic features of South Carolina and other regions of the world through the use of imagery (including aerial photography and satellite imagery) and topographic maps.

9th – 12th: Earth’s Atmosphere

ES-4.6 Summarize possible causes of and evidence for past and present global climate changes. 

ES-4.7 Summarize the evidence for the likely impact of human activities on the atmosphere (including ozone holes, greenhouse gases, acid rain, and photochemical smog).

ES-4.8 Predict weather conditions and storms (including thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornados) on the basis of the relationship among the movement of air masses, high and low pressure systems, and frontal boundaries.

9th – 12th: Biology

B-6.6 Explain how human activities (including population growth, technology, and consumption of resources) affect the physical and chemical cycles and processes of Earth.

Lesson Links

Exploring Flood Prone Areas

Check out your coastal elevation by visiting the NOAA Digital Coast site at: coast.noaa.gov/digitalcoast . Investigate the different tools located on this website that specifically address flooding, climate change, and hazards: CanVIs, Climate Wizard, Coastal Change Hazards Portal, Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper, Digital Shoreline Analysis System, Hazards U.S. Multi-Hazards, and more! Use this resource to answer the following questions (6th – 12th):

  • How has the shoreline nearest to where you live changed in the past 10 years?
  • Which areas of South Carolina have natural buffers of protection (i.e. wetlands and barrier islands)?
  • Is the area where you live prone to flooding?
  • What management suggestions would you make to protect your community if you are at risk for flooding from storms and/or climate change?
  • Create a map of your area by using FEMA’s (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Google Earth Tool: hazards.fema.gov/femaportal/wps/portal/NFHLWMSkmzdownload#FEMA NFHL

Climate Change and Coastal Flooding

  • Changing climate can contribute to flooding problems around the globe because of rising sea levels, increasing sea surface temperatures, and natural hazards. Check out the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence-SouthEast (COSEE SE) Educator Page www.cosee-se.org/ForEducators/ for classroom lessons and activities. (6th -12th)
  • Salt marsh retreat and drowning are common ecological responses to rising sea levels. Explore the impact on sea-level rise with this activity from the University of Rhode Island: omp.gso.uri.edu/ompweb/doee/teacher/pdf/act22.pdf .
  • Visit the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) website, www.secoora.org to access the activity, “Surge of the Storm”, that shows the impacts of flooding to coastal communities. With rising sea level, storm surge will become more of an issue of concern in the future. (6th-12th)

Managing Stormwater

  • Managing stormwater can help with flooding during storm events and impacts of a changing climate. Learn more about what you can do to manage stormwater in your community by visiting: www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/water/resources_stormwater . See how rain gardens, rain harvesting, creating vegetative buffers, and using pervious/porous building materials can help! What actions could you or your school do? (5th – 12th).
  • Protecting our natural buffers (salt marshes and barrier islands) is a great way to help with issues associated with flooding. Request an Enviroscape Coastal Program to be conducted at your school by filling out the request form located on South Carolina Sea Grant Consortiums’ Education Page: www.scseagrant.org/education-program. The Enviroscape program provides a hands-on way to learn about watersheds, pollution, and the importance of salt marshes and barrier islands.