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Engineering and Design: Reducing Shoreline Erosion

Kit #485S

In this engineering design activity students start by modeling the erosive effect of ocean waves on a sea cliff. They then design an erosion-reducing barrier and test it to observe how well it reduces the cliff erosion. They then use their experience with the cliff model to design, test, and redesign structures to limit beach erosion.

Details at a Glance

  • 2-3 Days | 2-3 ~50 minute class periods
  • 1 Activity
  • Accommodates unlimited classes, each with 8 groups of 4 students
  • Meets our criteria for supporting literacy
  • All materials are non-consumable
  • Developed in partnership with SEPUP
  • Requires a water source

Scientific Concepts

•Water removes earth materials from some places and deposits it as sediment in others.
•Some landforms are the result of destructive forces such as erosion.
•Some landforms are the result of constructive forces such as deposition of sediments.
•Erosion and deposition can lead to dramatic short-term effects at the shore of oceans and large lakes.
•There are positive and negative effects of erosion and deposition.
•Students design, test, and redesign a solution.
Related NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas
•ESS2.A Earth’s Materials and Systems
•ESS2.C The Role of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes
•ESS3.C Human Impacts on Earth Systems
•ETS1.A Defining and Delimiting Engineering Practices
•ETS1.B Developing Possible Solutions
•ETS1.C Optimizing the Design Solution
Key Vocabulary: deposition, engineering, erosion

Guides & Student Sheets

Our kits and modules provide you with everything you need so you can open, review, and teach the material confidently the next day.

  • Full downloadable Teacher Guide with background information, detailed instruction, example data and answers
  • Downloadable Student Sheets with age appropriate background information, full procedure(s), and analysis questions
  • All materials necessary to carry out the investigation
  • Safety Data Sheets

Kit Components

  • 16 long rectangular steel blocks
  • 16 short rectangular steel blocks
  • 16 mesh sleeves
  • 8 plastic basins
  • 8 plastic cliffmakers
  • 8 wavemaker paddles
  • 8 wavemaker paddle holders
  • 8 30-mL graduated cups
  • 8 9-oz plastic cups
  • 8 spoons
  • 1 bottle of riprap rocks
  • 1 bag of sand
  • 32 Student Worksheet and Guides
  • 1 Teacher's Guide
  • Not included and needed for instruction: Large (at least 1 L) container of water and a cup about 175 mL for each group of students.