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Curriculum Level: 9-12

By Maggie LeGrand, North Gaston High School 

OVERVIEW OF LESSON: How can your local community reduce the risk of flooding from climate change? What causes hurricanes and flooding? What can we learn from looking at cities around the world that are searching for solutions to this growing problem? Because many cities are experiencing unprecedented and frequent damage from climate change, especially from floods and hurricanes, students will compare and analyze how cities are working to improve their infrastructure. This lesson covers Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13: Climate Action. 


SUBJECT: Civics Literacy 


CL.G.1.3: Exemplify how the United States interacts with international governments to navigate global environmental issues.


  • What are ways that cities are improving infrastructure to mitigate damage from climate change induced hurricanes?


  1. Students will be able to describe climate change and how it relates to hurricanes. 
  2. Students will be able to describe how communities impacted by hurricanes are building infrastructure that mitigates their damage. 
  3. Students will be able to describe how their communities can create and implement plans for better infrastructure to mitigate hurricane damage due to climate change. 



Warm-up: Students analyze a picture of a recent flood. 

Discuss: [Note: Teacher can decide if this will be a trigger to students and modify as needed] Have you ever experienced a hurricane? A flood? What was it like? How did you feel? Did the flood or hurricane change your life in a major way? 

After answering the questions above, have students look at the following image: 5e15f805-fca4-46b4-b866-a3ad74fd62aa.jpg (760×507) ( 

Have students answer the following questions:

  1. When and where was this photo taken?
  2. Who are the people in the picture?
  3. How do the people in the picture look?
  4. What do you think they are feeling?

Students read about New Hanover County’s effort to reduce flooding during hurricane season. North Carolina’s coast impacted by climate change (

Introduce students to SDG 13: Climate Action and the SDG 13 targets.

Cities – United Nations Sustainable Development Action 2015

Have students discuss the questions below to determine what they already know about climate change. Questions can be written on butcher paper and have students answer with post-it notes. 

  1. What do you know about climate change? 
  2. What do you want to know about climate change? 
  3. How does climate change impact cities? 

The teacher divides students into small groups of four or five students. In small groups, students will analyze how six cities, territories and states are working to protect people and infrastructure from flooding and hurricanes caused by climate change. These areas experienced some of the greatest impacts of climate change and have different resources to address it. Students will research real world crises that require understanding the problem and identifying the resources and searching for solutions that include protecting for vulnerable communities. Before groups begin their research have students find their assigned city or area on a map using World Map: A clickable map of world countries (

Groups may also use the UNSDG website to research how countries are working on climate change.

Groups will design a poster with information they gathered from their respective locations. Students will present posters to their class and then post them around the school. Posters should include the following: 

  • A title 
  • At least one visual 
  • Where the poor or marginalized areas are in their location
  • An indication of how often the city floods yearly 
  • Strategies residents could use to prevent flooding 
  • Strategies local governments have implemented to prevent flooding in poor or marginalized neighborhoods
  • Additional strategies that local governments could implement to prevent additional flooding 
  • Strategies, plans, or partnerships that their city or nation has tried to reduce climate change risk in other ways (i.e reducing C02 gas)

ASSESSMENT: After students present their posters, they will work on a class campaign for the best disaster reduction strategies. Students will switch their focus from a global perspective to a local perspective to identify ways they can improve their community’s disaster reduction strategies. Students will make an infographic with disaster reduction strategies that they learned from their groups that could be used in their local community. 

Exit Ticket: From what you have learned in today’s lesson, what are ways your local community can prepare for flooding caused by climate change? Are all nations prepared for the effects of climate change? How are the poor and marginalized impacted by climate change?

LEARNING EXTENSION:  Students will work individually to campaign for their local community to adopt disaster reduction strategies that they learned about in their groups. Students can make t-shirts, buttons, or videos to make a tangible representation of what they learned. 

MATERIALS: Butcher paper, post-its, posters markers, colored pencils, scissors 


City of New Orleans (n.d). Plan for Emergencies. City of New Orleans. 

Climate Change Post. (Nov 20, 2022.). Flash Floods and Urban Flooding in Denmark. Climate Change Post. 

Dynaimage. (2021). CNN. 5e15f805-fca4-46b4-b866-a3ad74fd62aa.jpg (760×507) (

GFDRR (2021). Honiara Flood Risk Management Study and Plan. GFDRR.

Hatchett, F. (Nov 29, 2022). One of the Most Beautiful Coasts in Our Nation Is Changing. WXII. 

Mikkelsen, R. (Aug 28, 2008). New Orleans poor areas are still vulnerable to flooding. Reuters. 

NC Flood (n.d). Do you know your risk. NCFlood.

Prevention Web (Sept 28, 2021). Netherlands Flood Management is a Climate Adaptation for the World

United Nations (n.d) SDG Global Database gives you access to data on more than 210 SDG indicators for countries across the global. United Nations. UNSDG

World Map (2022). World Map: A clickable map of world countries. World Map: A clickable map of world countries 🙂 (