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Floating Architecture: Preparing for a Life on Water

PBS Newshour, PBS

This slideshow lays out a photo story with short descriptions of how designers of city buildings all over the world are taking climate change and rising sea level seriously.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Simulation/Interactive supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 5 Performance Expectations, 7 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 4 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 5 Performance Expectations, 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 2 Science and Engineering Practices

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Photo story could be used in a variety of courses: design/technology/engineering, geography, marine science/oceanography, climate change.
  • Students could be encouraged to consider these designs as a response to severe weather events.
  • Students could be encouraged to design and explain their own resolution to coastal cities dealing with sea level rise.

About the Science

  • In the last decade, floating architecture has come into the market as a realistic opportunity for planning for sea level rise in the next century.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • The photo essay is accompanied by a written essay as well as links to interactive maps that illustrate potential sea level rise impact on coastal cities in the Eastern US.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Photos are clear and clean.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Simulation/Interactive supports:

Middle School

Performance Expectations: 5

MS-ETS1-1: Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.

MS-ETS1-2: Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

MS-ETS1-3: Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

MS-ETS1-4: Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

MS-ESS3-2: Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 7

MS-ETS1.A1:The more precisely a design task’s criteria and constraints can be defined, the more likely it is that the designed solution will be successful. Specification of constraints includes consideration of scientific principles and other relevant knowledge that are likely to limit possible solutions.

MS-ETS1.B1:A solution needs to be tested, and then modified on the basis of the test results, in order to improve it.

MS-ETS1.B2:There are systematic processes for evaluating solutions with respect to how well they meet the criteria and constraints of a problem.

MS-ETS1.B3:Sometimes parts of different solutions can be combined to create a solution that is better than any of its predecessors.

MS-ETS1.B4:Models of all kinds are important for testing solutions.

MS-ETS1.C1:Although one design may not perform the best across all tests, identifying the characteristics of the design that performed the best in each test can provide useful information for the redesign process—that is, some of those characteristics may be incorporated into the new design.

MS-ETS1.C2:The iterative process of testing the most promising solutions and modifying what is proposed on the basis of the test results leads to greater refinement and ultimately to an optimal solution

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Structure and Function

MS-C6.1:Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the shapes, composition, and relationships among its parts; therefore, complex natural and designed structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function.

MS-C6.2:Structures can be designed to serve particular functions by taking into account properties of different materials, and how materials can be shaped and used.

Science and Engineering Practices: 4

Developing and Using Models, Asking Questions and Defining Problems

MS-P2.5:Develop and/or use a model to predict and/or describe phenomena.

MS-P2.6: Develop a model to describe unobservable mechanisms.

MS-P2.7:Develop and/or use a model to generate data to test ideas about phenomena in natural or designed systems, including those representing inputs and outputs, and those at unobservable scales.

MS-P1.8:Define a design problem that can be solved through the development of an object, tool, process or system and includes multiple criteria and constraints, including scientific knowledge that may limit possible solutions.

High School

Performance Expectations: 5

HS-ESS3-4: Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.

HS-ETS1-1: Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.

HS-ETS1-2: Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.

HS-ETS1-3: Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

HS-ETS1-4: Use a computer simulation to model the impact of proposed solutions to a complex real-world problem with numerous criteria and constraints on interactions within and between systems relevant to the problem.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 5

HS-ETS1.A1:Criteria and constraints also include satisfying any requirements set by society, such as taking issues of risk mitigation into account, and they should be quantified to the extent possible and stated in such a way that one can tell if a given design meets them.

HS-ETS1.A2:Humanity faces major global challenges today, such as the need for supplies of clean water and food or for energy sources that minimize pollution, which can be addressed through engineering. These global challenges also may have manifestations in local communities

HS-ETS1.B1:When evaluating solutions, it is important to take into account a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, and to consider social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

HS-ETS1.B2:Both physical models and computers can be used in various ways to aid in the engineering design process. Computers are useful for a variety of purposes, such as running simulations to test different ways of solving a problem or to see which one is most efficient or economical; and in making a persuasive presentation to a client about how a given design will meet his or her needs.

HS-ETS1.C1:Criteria may need to be broken down into simpler ones that can be approached systematically, and decisions about the priority of certain criteria over others (trade-offs) may be needed

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Structure and Function

HS-C6.1:Investigating or designing new systems or structures requires a detailed examination of the properties of different materials, the structures of different components, and connections of components to reveal its function and/or solve a problem.

HS-C6.2:The functions and properties of natural and designed objects and systems can be inferred from their overall structure, the way their components are shaped and used, and the molecular substructures of its various materials.

Science and Engineering Practices: 2

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Developing and Using Models

HS-P1.8:Define a design problem that involves the development of a process or system with interacting components and criteria and constraints that may include social, technical, and/or environmental considerations. 

HS-P2.6:Develop and/or use a model (including mathematical and computational) to generate data to support explanations, predict phenomena, analyze systems, and/or solve problems.

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