INTRODUCTION: Scientists project that in Philadelphia it's very likely that the number of heavy downpours will increase due to climate change.
Up to 3 more days for the 2020s
Up to 3 more days for the 2050s
Up to 5 more days for the 2080s
In the Northeast there has been a 74% increase in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events from 1958 to 2011
Ask students if they have every seen a parking lot in a heavy rainstorm. Have them describe what it looks like. If it is difficult to elicit a response to this question, show a short video clip of a parking lot in a rainstorm. Or you could show pictures from of a parking lot in a rainstorm. Your goal is to have students understand that we are trying to manage storm water and prepare for the effects of climate change. Here is a suggestion of a video to show.
Explain that increased downpours are a result of climate change. If we are going to prepare for the effects we have to consider rain barrel as one solution.
Explain that if everyone does their share, the cumulative effect of these practices will be realized.
Explain that in the activity they are about to do, students will model what happens when water seeps slowly through soil. One of the most vital functions of vegetative areas is its ability to store water and keep it out of the waterways during storm events. By storing water on a temporary basis, water settles out and is absorbed by the vegetation. This is a key factor in reducing the frequency and intensity of flooding events. As development increases throughout a watershed, a greater amount of runoff water from impervious surfaces like driveways parking lots, roofs and roads, drains into the stream system at a faster rate. This excess water creates conditions that become hazardous for those living in the floodplain. Planters, such as the one we will demonstrate, help to retain a portion of the runoff and consequently lessen the destructive forces of flooding.