Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This lesson explores the impact of changing river volumes, floodplain terrain, and prevention and mitigation interventions on communities that are prone to experiencing floods. Students will observe and study flood dynamics and how they can impact communities, and then trial a range of interventions.

Subjects: Science.

Year Level: 6.

Teaching Time: 60 minutes.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Resilient Australia: Building Resilience To Natural Disasters – Primary.

Related Professional Development: We encourage you to undertake the free PD Course How to teach a unit on fire and flood resilience for tips on how to best deliver this lesson.

If you’re concerned about the challenging nature of these topics, consider the free PD Course How to approach trauma in the classroom for information on how best to support your students.

21st-century skills: 

Critical ThinkingProblem FindingTeam Work  

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 6 Science:

  • Sudden geological changes and extreme weather events can affect Earth’s surface (ACSSU096)
  • Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE100)

Relevant parts of Year 6 Science achievement standards: Students describe and predict the effect of environmental changes on individual living things. They explain how natural events cause rapid change to Earth’s surface. They describe and predict the effect of environmental changes on individual living things.

Students follow procedures to develop investigable questions and design investigations into simple cause-and-effect relationships.

Syllabus outcomes: ST3-7PW, ST3-9ES

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – The teacher may need to help some groups set up the riverbed models and carve the river which will flow down it.

Resources required:

  • Art supplies to build a few model houses (cardstock, pencil, ruler, tape, scissors, colour pencils)
  • Device capable of presenting a video to the class
  • Jug or large tub for pouring water
  • Riverbed model (large plastic tub, large disposable aluminium baking pan, 1kg of soil or sand, book or wooden block to prop up the plastic tub)
  • Riverbed model for teacher demonstration (large plastic tub, large disposable aluminium baking pan, ˜1kg of green modelling clay, soil and sand, book or wooden block to prop up the plastic tub)
  • Riverbed template (optional)

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will ...

  • … understand that deforestation attributed to human behaviour is increasing the likelihood of floods.
  • … observe how the shape of the riverbed can have a major influence on where flooding may occur.

Success criteria: Students can …

  • … make a model and test out their designs to create solutions to overflowing rivers.
  • … identify and prepare for flooding events by designing dams, levees and dikes to protect people and property when flooding occurs.

Teacher content information:

Handling sensitive topics:

While presenting the lesson, you may notice that students could develop heightened emotions as you uncover the physical and psychological effects of hazards and disasters. Resilience, rebuilding and hope are essential learnings from the lessons. Therefore, it is vital to create a psychologically safe place for students to discuss and debrief, should they need to. The tasks can be activating for some students a

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