Project Planning and Preliminary Implementation

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Students observe a real-life erosion issue and decide on a remediation process.

Big Idea

Students understand that they can have a positive effect on erosion in their community

RAP - Review and Preview

5 minutes

I call students to the gathering area. We discuss our remediation decision from our previous lesson. I tell students that today we must come up with a plan, a budget, and a timeline for this project. We will do this as a whole group.

Guided Investigation

20 minutes

Since there are several options for remediation, I will outline what we have done in the past as options you might pursue with your students.

1. Plant grass and ground cover that will hold soil together.

Students can gather milk cartons from the cafeteria. These can be used as planters for grass and ground cover. These cartons are biodegradable and can be planted and left as a barrier against erosion in the short-term, and as vegetation takes hold, it becomes the barrier.

2. Build wooden barrier and build soil up behind it.

Students can build a simple wooden barrier in sections to put together on-site. Building it in sections allows students to place the barrier into the eroded area as closely as possible to conform to its shape.

3. Build a different channel for the water to flow through.

While this is a good strategy, I have found that this is the least effective to do with students. This strategy usually requires that new excavation occur before lining the new channel with rock. I have done this with the aide of an engineer, but feel that it cannot be adequately done with students for a long-term solution.

Field Trip

40 minutes

I take students on a walk to the community erosion site. We talk about the different remediation options we discussed in the classroom. As a group we decide that growing grass and ground cover seems to be our best option to hold the soil together. We decide that we may also need to add more soil and a temporary retaining wall to ensure that the vegetation is given a chance to spread.

Wrap Up

20 minutes

We return to the classroom and I call students to the gathering area. We discuss that we need to approach the school cafeteria and administrator to request a collection point for milk cartons during lunch periods for about a week. Students create signs and attach them to containers to be placed around the lunchroom to collect cartons for our project.