The Earth Science curricula are contextualized in a real-world problem in an elementary school: every time it rains heavily, water runoff takes a lot of sediment to the stream and homes downhill from the school. Runoff also affects the school itself, as the areas get very muddy and as a result recess can get moved inside, or even canceled. To address these problems, the students will make design proposals of the school's playground to: (1) Reduce water runoff during heavy rain; (2) Make outside areas accessible to students in wheelchairs; (3) Stay within the budget; and (4) Contain evidence that your designs will work for heavy rain.
Students can implement and test their playground design ideas in C2STEM. They can interact with a computational model by simulating rainfall and the resulting runoff under different conditions (different rainfall intensities and durations) and with different playground designs (selecting different surface materials for each grid in a 4x4 playground grid). By testing their engineering design proposal, students can also systematically explore a vast solution space.