Flood Fighter Challenge

Patricia Skinner  |  4/23/2018 8:47:49 PM

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Protecting a home from flood water (Tabletop Activity)

Objective: In this activity children will become aware of the importance of elevation to prevent flood damage through hands-on activity.

Background: Flooding is a problem in all parts of Louisiana. This activity may be particularly useful when students have witnessed a flood, but it well be fund and leave useful impressions even if they have NOT had that experience. Some care must be taken as to timing of this activity in relation to a local flood disaster in which the children may have been directly involved.

Venues and ages levels:

This activity can be used in class, at a club meeting, or as a table activity in a community fair or expo.

Preschool and elementary students will discover through hands-on play that it’s hard to keep water on one side of a barrier, but having the floor of the house off the ground almost always keeps it dry. Middle and high schools students will reach similar conclusions, through experimentation and more deliberate attempts to make leak-proof barriers. Having completed the exercise, older youth will be equipped to offer the activity to students in lower grades.

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Materials needed to conduct the activity:

Materials can be found at most hardware, hobby or home supply stores.

Materials can be re-used many times only if they are completely dry before being put away.

Supply list with minimum quantities for one "kit" that serves two stations:
Photo shows the typical supplies and quantities listed below

  • Plastic electrical boxes (houses) – one per station
  • Station trays: 9-inch paint roller size – one per station
  • Supply tray: 6” or 7” paint roller size
  • Modeling clay (make levee; plug leaks) - 2 pounds
  • Small sandbags
  • 1 ¾” x ¼” strips - cut to fit across station tray -- one per tray
  • Clothespins: ~ 3” (simulate column foundations) -- 8-12
  • Material to simulate short pier foundations -- four strips with two humps each

Not shown

  • 16-oz plastic cup
  • 5-gallon bucket, half full

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FFC Kit: 2 station trays, 1 supply tray. Left tray shows houses “elevated” and placement of a floodwall. One helper can manage 3-4 stations at an event.

Purchasing and preparing the materials:

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Packaging quantities and approximate pricing of materials (March 2018)

From the home building supply store:

    • Roller trays, disposable - ~ $3 each, either sizes
    • Electrical boxes – 0.80 ea (discard nails)
    • Plastic corrugated roof closure strips - 24” – $5.50/6-pack
    • Plastic moulding/lattice – ¼” x 1¾” x 96” strip - $5
    • Play Sand -- $4.50 per 50 lb bag (3 cups fills 25 bags)

From craft stores and packaging suppliers:
    • Parts bags – 2” x 3” – $30 per 200 (minimum mail-order)
    • Modeling clay – $3.50 per 1 lb package
    • Clothespins - 3” - $1.50 per dozen

Preparing the materials

  • Fill parts bags 2/3 full; tie very securely. Shake to remove fine grains that will escape through the fabric.
  • Cut lattice to fit across the station tray; angle ends slightly to match sides of tray
  • Cut and trim roof closure strips to make pieces that have two “risers” each (each strip makes 4 pieces)
  • Form clay into small balls

Set-up:

  • Be sure the table is sturdy and water-resistant
  • Place the work stations closer to the student side of the table.
  • Place a supplies tray where it will be shared by two work stations.
  • Work (and possibly warm) the clay to make it soft enough for little hands to manipulate.
  • Have towels on hand to wipe up spills and dribbles

Resources:

Figuring Out Flood Hazards 4-H Activity Guide - Good background for leaders, teachers, and groups organizers. The activity guide may also be useful take-home piece for middle and high school students. It includes instructions for using the LSU AgCenter FloodMaps Portal to find flood zones at the users point of interest, such as their home or school.

Event Helper Script: Especially useful when recruiting youth helpers.

Flood Fighter Challenge: Event Leader Guide: Includes lists of materials, how to purchase and prepare the materials, how to set up the tables, and illustrative photos of four events, both indoors and outdoors.

Additional files for signage and photo frame for capturing the child and his/her creation with a picture.

Event Table or Booth Sign: 18" by 24"

Click IMAGE for PDF Click HERE for JPG

Steps Signs: Three 8 1/2" x 11" pages

Click IMAGE for PDF

Photo Frame: 22" x 22"

Click IMAGE for PDF Click HERE for JPG

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