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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, Winter 2019 issue: Designing for Water: Strategies to Mitigate Flood Impacts

Focus Questions

  • What factors are contributing to Charleston’s flooding problems?
  • What area the three ways to deal with flooding (according to engineers)?
  • List two countries and their efforts to stop water from coming into their cities.
  • Which country has engineered a way to “get out of the way of water and accommodate”? Describe this model.
  • Describe how one ecosystem in South Carolina mitigates the impacts of flooding during storms and flooding events.
  • Where is there an urban garden in Charleston and how does it work?

Use the Curriculum Connection to address these South Carolina Science Standards and Performance Indicators

3.E.4B.3 Obtain and communicate information to explain how natural events (such as fires, landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or floods) and human activities (such as farming, mining, or building) impact the environment.

4.E.2A.2 Develop and use models to explain how water changes as it moves between the atmosphere and Earth’s surface during each phase of the water cycle (including evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and runoff).

5.E.3B.2 Develop and use models to explain the effect of the movement of ocean water (including waves, currents, and tides) on the ocean shore zone (including beaches, barrier islands, estuaries, and inlets).

8.E.4B.4 Develop and use models to explain how motions within the Sun-Earth-Moon system cause Earth phenomena (including day and year, moon phases, solar and lunar eclipses, and tides).

H.E.6A.2 Obtain and communicate information to explain how location, movement, and energy transfers are involved in making water available for use on Earth’s surface (including lakes, surface-water drainage basins, freshwater wetlands, and groundwater zones).

H.E.6A.4 Analyze and interpret data of a local drainage basin to predict how changes caused by human activity and other factors influence the hydrology of the basin and amount of water available for use in the ecosystem.

H.E.6A.5 Analyze and interpret data to describe how the quality of the water in drainage basins is influenced by natural and human factors (such as land use, domestic and industrial waste, weather/climate conditions, topography of the river channel, pollution, or flooding).

H.E.6A.9 Ask questions about the designs of devices used to control and prevent coastal erosion and flooding and evaluate the designs in terms of the advantages and disadvantages required for solving the problems.

H.B.6B.2 Analyze and interpret quantitative data to construct an explanation for the effects of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide and methane) on the carbon cycle and global climate.

Lesson Links and Educational Resources

Clemson Rain Garden Program and MUSC’s Urban Garden Program

One great way to mitigate the impacts of flooding is to minimize the amount of stormwater generated during a rainfall event. Check out Clemson’s Rain Garden Program to learn how to become involved in creating one at your school and/or visit the Medical University of South Carolina’s Urban Garden website to learn more! (6th – 12th)

Enviroscape© Loaner Program

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium offers K-12 and nonformal educators use of their Wetlands Enviroscape Model that demonstrates how watersheds can be impacted by development, pollution, and other natural and human-made impacts. The Enviroscape shows how natural buffers (native vegetation, riparian buffers, salt marshes) not only mitigate the impact of pollution but also can help with flooding concerns. If interested in requesting the Enviroscape for your classroom, please contact Liz McQuain at

From Seeds to Shoreline®

Salt marshes are a natural barrier to flooding and the From Seeds to Shoreline® program is designed to involve students and teachers in cultivating and transplanting salt marsh grass to areas along the South Carolina coastline. The program is coordinated by the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, in partnership with Clemson Extension and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and is open to any formal or nonformal educator. Learn more about this free program and how to become involved in restoring areas along our coastline! (K – 12th)

Plan Your Own Resilient Coastal City

Engage your students in planning a city that is resilient to the impacts of climate change – mainly sea-level rise – through this fun and educational game developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Beat the Uncertainty: Planning Climate Resilient Cities. Students take on the roles of policy makers, scientists, and other stakeholders as they make choices about their city and roll the dice to see if those choices have a negative or positive impact on their city in the future. (5th – 12th)

Field Trip Opportunities

Be Your Own Tourist!

Take some time and research areas in your town or city that might have flood mitigation projects in place. Ideas include: contact your city or town engineer to learn about projects that have finished or are planned; using Clemson University’s website , locate schools or other locations in your area that have a raingarden in place; and research any community groups that have developed an urban garden. Then, taking a map of your location, visit these places to learn more! (3rd – 12th)

Citizen Science: MyCoast App!

Get your students involved in documenting flood-prone areas by downloading the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control-Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (SCDHEC-OCRM) smartphone application, MyCoast . Then, you and your students design a plan to document by taking photos of flood-prone areas near your school or homes, taking into consideration the following: flooding during a) normal high-tides, b) King Tides, and c) rainstorms. To access the tides in your area, please download the SCDHEC-OCRM tide table .