Teacher Notes Teacher Notes
Key Question
How can we slow down coastal erosion?
Sandy beaches along the coast are popular
recreational areas for coastal residents and visitors.
Beachgoers enjoy playing in the sand, surfing, and
splashing in the waves. Coastal grasses and vegetation
are home for many animals. Sandy beaches are used
as nesting grounds by sea turtles and other small
organisms. However, the beaches need our help!
Extensive man-made construction and development
and weather phenomena, such as storm surges
and erosion, are causing our coastline to disappear
(“Coastal Erosion,” 2016). According to the Texas
General Land Office, the average erosion rate for the
367 miles of Texas coast is 4.1 feet per year (“Coastal
Erosion, n.d.). The beach is part of our world, and it
needs your help now!
Students begin observing, describing, and sorting rocks in kindergarten
(TEKS K.7A) and compare them in second grade (TEKS 2.7A). Students learn
about soil characteristics in first grade (TEKS 1.7A) and are introduced to
weathering, erosion, and deposition in fourth grade (TEKS 4.7B).
In this challenge, students will create a plan and build a system that can be
used to slow down coastal erosion.
Through research, students should find that there are many ways engineers
and scientists work together to protect and preserve our coastlines. Coastal
engineers develop structures to protect beaches and coastlines from the
damaging effects of weather-related phenomena, such as weathering
and erosion, while scientists work to ensure that coastal communities and
ecosystems are protected.
Students may discover that some of the current engineering solutions to
control coastal erosion or to protect man-made structures include the use of
natural barriers, such as dunes and vegetation, or a mix of natural and man-
made systems, like geotextile tubes. Other solutions depend strictly on man-
made structures such as seawalls, levees, and jetties. Students may initially
believe that a seawall will protect the beach and its community, but in reality,
a seawall might do more damage to the area by isolating the ocean from the
land and increasing the rate of erosion.
Challenge 3: The Disappearing Beach
Grade Grade 5 5
Design Challenge
As a group of scientists and coastal engineers,
develop a plan and build a system that can slow down
the process of coastal erosion caused by wind and
water. The system should also preserve the natural
beach landscape, animal and plant habitats, and
man-made construction.
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