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Floods.

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Look out--here comes a flood!

Floods happen when land is covered with water.

Floods can harm people, animals, and buildings.

Overflowing rivers (o-ver-flow-ing riv-ers) can cause floods.

Hurricanes (Hur-ri-canes) can cause ocean floods.

Heavy rain can quickly cause flash floods.

New Words:

flood

people

rivers

Hurricanes

flash floods

NOTE TO TEACHERS and PARENTS: (See directions in Teaching Notes for all activities.)

Vocabulary

Trace the missing letters.

flash flood

family roof

WHY FLY

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Adult Supervision Recommended

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Weekly Lab

Help WHY FLY keep his house safe!

You need: crayons, scissors, glue, Popsicle[R] sticks, PlayDoh[R] or modeling clay

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FLOODS

The Power of Floods

Floods cause more deaths each year than hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning combined. About 12% of the population in the U.S. lives in flood-prone areas, and about 130 people die in U.S. floods each year. During floods, search and rescue operations must find people who are stranded or have perished. Towns may be covered with tons of polluted mud. Sometimes, more people die after a flood, from the resulting famine and disease.

What Causes Floods?

Some of the worst floods occur when a river overflows after heavy rain. Wind and rain from hurricanes can cause a storm surge, raising the sea level and flooding coastal areas. Tsunamis are huge ocean waves caused by underwater earthquakes or volcanoes. These waves can reach 30 meters high. Flash floods develop quickly after heavy rain when soil becomes saturated.

Controlling Floods

Floods can benefit people. In Africa, the Nile River periodically overflows after summer rains, replenishing the flood plains and producing some of the world's most fertile land. However, these floods can also cause much damage. In ancient times, people built levees of dirt along riverbanks to hold back floods; today, the levees may be built of sandbags or concrete. Dams are built across rivers, and sea walls or dikes can protect from floods in coastal areas. The Tsunami Warning System consists of sensors on the ocean floor that provide warning before a tsunami strikes. However, flood protection can fail. This happened in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when the sea level rose 25 feet and the city flooded, killing more than 1,800 people.

Predicting Floods

Scientists use river gauges to monitor the water level in rivers. Many bridges are equipped with alarm systems that go off when flooding is imminent. Doppler radar shows the amount of precipitation and where storms are heading. Computer models simulate actual weather conditions and predict if flooding is likely. When that happens, the National Weather Service will issue a flood watch (the potential for flooding exists) or flood warning (a flood is happening or is imminent.)

Level Pre-A

Main Concept: Heavy rains can cause floods. Floods can harm people.

Initiating Questions

1. What is a flood?

2. Have you ever been in a flood?

3. How can floods hurt people?

Follow-up Questions:

4. What can cause floods?

5. What are some ways people can stay safe in a flood?

6. Why are some houses built on stilts?

Picture Activity

Have the students look at the picture. What kind of weather is happening? You can see a hurricane in the distance that has just passed. What are the people doing in the picture? Can you see what people have done to try to prevent floods? There is a levee made of earth next to the water. But the levee has broken. This is what happened during Hurricane Katrina.

Vocabulary

Answers: flood, roof, family, fish

Weekly Lab

Students will see that the sponge "levee" will allow the water to rise above the top of the bowl without "flooding". To bend the sponges, it may be necessary to dampen them first, but wring the water out well.

Math

Answer: 4 people on the roof plus 2 people in the boat = 6 people altogether (Pets can be harmed in floods, too. But the dog does not count as a person.)

Storytelling

Students will describe how the sun is melting the snow, causing flooding.

Challenge

Students will cross out the man driving through the flooded street, the boy walking in the flood, and the dog left out in the yard during a flood.

Bringing It Home

Students will see that stilts can keep a house dry during floods.

Level A

Main Concept: Floods can harm people, buildings, and animals. Flash floods happen after heavy rains. Hurricanes can cause floods.

Initiating Questions

1. What is a flood?

2. What can floods do to people and animals?

3. Have you ever been in a flood?

Follow-up Questions

4. What can cause ocean floods?

5. When do flash floods happen?

6. Can heavy rain cause floods?

Vocabulary

Answers: flash flood, family, roof, WHY FLY

Weekly Lab

Coastal flooding is a recurrent problem in many areas. To keep houses dry, many houses have been built on stilts. Ask the students if they have ever seen a house on stilts.

Math

Answer: 5 - 2 = 3; 5 ft (at 3:00 pm)--2 ft (at 2:00 pm) = 3 ft higher after 1 hour

Writing in Science

Even eighteen inches of water is enough to float many vehicles. Encourage your students to write about how the man can avoid driving through the flood.

Challenge

Electricity may be lost during floods.

Answers: Students should circle the battery-powered radio, flashlight, bottled water, canned food, first aid kit, and cell phone. Then, have them color the pictures.

Bringing It Home

(See Level Pre-A--WEEKLY LAB.) Have the students place the sponges so that there are no gaps around the edge of the bowl. The sponges will absorb water and control the "flooding" as the bowl is filled.

Level B

Main Concept: Floods are harmful to people, buildings, and crops. Floods can happen when rivers overflow, and flash floods happen quickly after heavy rain. People build dams and levees to control floods.

Initiating Questions

1. What is a flood?

2. How high can floods get?

3. Does rain cause floods?

Follow-up Questions

4. What can cause ocean floods?

5. What are some ways to stop rivers from flooding?

6. What can happen to a car in a flash flood?

Vocabulary

Answers: 1 = 0; 2 = E; 3 = A; 4 = I; 5 = U; flood, overflow, hurricanes, dams, levees, ocean. Some possible answers to WHY FLY's question: hook, shook, book, food, cook

Weekly Lab

Explain to students that, when people know a flood is coming, they may put sandbags along the banks of rivers to absorb water and keep the land from flooding.

They may put sandbags in front of the cracks under doors to keep water out of buildings.

Math

Answers: Wilma, Dennis, $40 billion

Writing in Science

Encourage your students to think about all the things that they will need. What if the electricity goes out? What if there is no running water? How can they stay safe?

Challenge

It may be helpful to slightly dampen the sand first to hold the shape of the dune and to support the house on stilts. Explain to the students how many houses in coastal areas are built on stilts to protect them from flooding. Have they ever seen, or been inside a house on stilts?

Bring It Home

Answer: batteries

Level C

Main Concepts: Floods ruin buildings and crops, and kill more people each year than hurricanes, earthquakes, and lightning combined. River floods can happen after heavy rains or quickly melting snow. Dams, levees, and sea walls are some ways people use to control floods.

Initiating Questions

1. What causes floods?

2. What kinds of damage can floods do?

3. How can people keep safe in floods?

Follow-up Questions

4. What is a flash flood?

5. What are some causes of floods?

6. Can small creeks and streams cause dangerous floods?

Vocabulary

Answers: dam, stilts, Katrina, hurricanes; Another word for sea wall is: dike.

Weekly Lab

Dams allow people to control the water level in rivers. When the water gets too high behind the dam, water will be released to the other side. Sandbags absorb water and can prevent or slow flooding. When the students press into the modeling clay, a small stream will be released to the other side of the dam. Make sure the socks are tightly packed into the pan so that there will not be leaks.

Math

Answers: $197 billion; $72 billion; Ivan

Writing in Science

Encourage students to think about all the possible complications that could arise from floods--power outages, no running water, evacuation, the danger of driving, etc.

Challenge

Answers: According to the map, states with the most flood damage each year are: Oregon, California, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut. States with the least flood damage are: Wyoming, New Mexico, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, South Carolina, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Hawaii.

Puzzle

Answer: Move to higher ground.

Level D

Main Concept: Floods are very destructive, killing more people each year than hurricanes, earthquakes, and lightning combined. Floods are caused by heavy rains, overflowing rivers, hurricanes, and tsunamis. People have developed many ways to control and predict floods.

Initiating Questions

1. What are some causes of floods?

2. What are some ways people control floods?

3. What are safety precautions people should follow during floods?

Follow-up Questions

4. What is a tsunami?

5. What kinds of damage can floods cause?

6. What are some ways that floods can be predicted?

Vocabulary

Answers: Doppler, volcanoes, rain, computer, tsunamis, dams, concrete, dike; When people must leave their homes, they are told to: evacuate.

Weekly Lab

Ask students if they know what kind of soil is in their area--is it sandy, clay, or rocky? Will different spots in the yard or school yard all have the same type of soil--why or why not? They can test different spots and compare drainage times. Do they live in an area that gets lots of rain, or not much? Are some times of year rainier than others? Drainage time will be longer after rain.

Math

Answers: 3.48 x 5 rounded to the nearest tenth = 17.4 centimeters; 3.48 x 4.5 rounded to the nearest tenth = 15.7; 6 divided by 3.2 divided by 3.2 = 1.9 rounded to the nearest tenth.

Writing in Science

Encourage students to think about the advantages of moving--not having to worry so much about floods, not having to rebuild after each flood, being safer. The disadvantages could include leaving the neighborhood, not being able to see friends, having to change schools, etc.

Challenge

Encourage students to be creative!

Answers: Some words from tsunami include: sun, man, mist, must, tan, sit, mast, sum, Sam, an, in, it, nut.

Puzzle

Answer: Obey the advisories you hear on television and radio.

Level E

Main Concept: Floods are more dangerous than hurricanes, earthquakes, and lightning combined. Floods can be caused by rivers overflowing, heavy rains, hurricanes, and tsunamis. Scientists try to predict floods using Doppler radar, computer models, and river gauges.

Initiating Questions

1. Do floods happen where you live?

2. What do you think causes floods?

3. Where do you think floods are most likely to occur?

Follow-up Questions

4. What are some ways people predict floods?

5. What are some ways to protect against flooding?

6. What kinds of problems can happen after a flood is over?

Vocabulary

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Math

Answers: 266.7 km., 72 km. per hour, 12 meters (30 divided by 2.5)

Weekly Lab

Clean-up after a flood takes time, money, and much effort. Mud, rocks, sand, and debris can travel for miles. Make sure the board is inclined at least 45 degrees. When they warm the outside of the cup with tap water, they can tap the "mud" out and then rubber band just the "mud" to the nail. Ask your students how clean-up of roads, houses, etc. could be accomplished after a flood?

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Writing in Science

The LAB demonstrates the carrying power of water. After a flood, silt, sand, rocks, and other debris will be left behind. Mud can get inside houses and buildings, ruining furnishings and carpeting. It can also cause harmful mold and mildew to grow. Cleaning up after a flood is a huge task--some buildings may not ever be habitable again.

Challenge

Answer: Obey the advisories you hear on television and radio.

Puzzle

Answer: Immediately move to higher ground.

DID YOU KNOW??

Almost 1/3 of the land in the Netherlands is below sea level.

Just 6 inches of moving Water can mock a person down.

In 1990, after 8 to 10 centimeters of rain fell in one hour in Shadyside, Ohio, two creeks overflowed, creating flash floods that reached 9 meters (29.5 feet) high.

During the Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood of 1889, the dam on the Little Conemaugh River burst, releasing 20 million tons of water.

Waves from a tsunami can reach over 40 meters (131 feet) high.

The waves of a tsunami can travel at 800 kilometers (496 miles) per hour.

Many bridges in places where there are lots of floods have loud alarms that go off when a river is about to flood.

During the Great Flood of 1993, more than 100 rivers in the Midwest flooded, affecting nine states.

Math

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At 2 p.m., the water level was two feet high. One hour later, the water level was five feet high. How much higher was the water after one hour?

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Writing in Science

When a flash food happens, it is dangerous (dan-ger-ous) to drive through it. Write a sentence telling what the man should do.

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Challenge

Which of these things can help people in a flood? Circle the items, then color I them in.

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Adult Supervision Recommended

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Bringing it Home

Build a levee (le-vee)!

You need: small round plastic bowl, two large kitchen sponges, water

Step 1: Place the sponges around the inside of the bowl.

Step 2: An inch of the sponges should stick up over the top of the bowl.

Step 3: Fill the bowl with water.

Step 4: Add more water. What happened?

Step 5: Try this again. This time, soak the sponges first before placing them in the bowl. What do you predict will happen?

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"What do a yo-yo, a swing, and a baseball bat have in common?"

"They are all pendulums!"

"You will learn about pendulums in our next issue."

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Weekly Resources

Helpful Sources for Planning Your Science Weekly Classroom Activities

Recommended Resources

* Armbruster, Anne. Floods. Franklin Watts., New York, 1996

* Deedrick, Tami. Floods: Nature on the Rampage. Raintree Steck-Vaughn Publishers, New York, 2000

* Keller, Ellen. Floods! Simon Spotlight, New York, 1999

* Rozens, Aleksandrs. Floods. Twenty-First Century Books, New York, 1994

* Spilsbury, Louise and Richard. Raging Floods. Heinemann Library, Chicago, 2003

Internet Resources

http://www.fema.gov

Information about floods and what to do in case of floods

http://www.nws.noaa.gov

Lists all places in the country currently under flood watch or warning.
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Publication:Science Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 21, 2008
Words:2499
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