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Idea 14 Flooding and flood risk maps

Flooding and flood risk maps

This project idea was contributed by Mark Bamford

Exam Board Components that this project links with
AQA A Unit 1, Section A: Challenge of Weather and Climate
Unit 2, Section B: Water on the Land
Edexcel A Unit 1: Geographical and ICT skills
Unit 2, Section A: River Landscapes
Edexcel B Unit 1, Section B: River Processes and Pressures
OCR B Theme 1: Rivers and Coasts
WJEC B Theme 2: People and the Natural World Interactions


This activity introduces students to the causes of flooding and aims to help them understand how flooding could affect them. The lesson finishes at the stage where a case study could be chosen by the individual department.

Key Geography Objectives

  • To understand the causes of flooding
  • To understand the increasing problem of flood insurance and the need to predict where flooding could hit
  • To understand why the environment agency produce flood risk maps
  • To be able to use flood risk maps with confidence.

Key ICT Objectives

  • Analysis of photos
  • Use of a website, including online map, to retrieve data

Running the Activity

Although certain aspects of this activity can be run in a classroom with no access to ICT, a projector is required for the visual element of the PowerPoint and for the objectives to be fully met the students would need to have access to their own PC.

Note: You will need to add photos to the PowerPoint before the lesson commences.

1. Share the learning objectives with the group.

2. Introduce the idea of flooding (it is assumed that the students would have some idea of the causes of flooding from KS3).

3. The PowerPoint slide show (which you can download below) is set up as a picture board at the start. The students are allowed to select pictures 1-5 (the mouse must be exactly on the number). Once that number has been selected, a slide will appear with a factor that has the potential to influence flooding. The students could discuss this and provide verbal responses or be prompted to commit their ideas to paper. By clicking ‘info’ on the slide it will reappear but with the answers provided. Note: The space bar or arrows on the keyboard must not be used to navigate at this stage. ‘Back to Picture’ and ‘Back to Picture Board’ are the options provided to navigate this part of the PowerPoint.

4. Once the 5 photos have been discussed, click ‘Continue’. From this point on the space bar and keyboard arrows can be used to navigate. Discuss how humans could influence flooding and why we should be concerned about this. On slide 14 there is a link to a video of the Boscastle flood from the BBC News website.

5. On slide 15 there is a link to the Environment Agency Flood Risk website. At the time of writing, a box is provided on the right hand side of the home page where a postcode can be inputted to provide a flood map for that area. Put in the postcode of your school to see if it is at risk of flooding. If you are stuck there is a school in Shrewsbury called the Wakeman school that is right next to the River Severn, postcode SY2 6AA.

6. Once this demonstration has taken place, the students could find their own house on the map to see if they are at risk. They could paste the map into a word document and discuss the potential threat. If there is none, they could navigate the map to find the nearest places to them that are at risk.

7. Complete the house price mystery that starts on slide 16. Show them the pictures of the four houses and gauge which would be their favourite house to live in and discuss the reasons why. Then complete the ‘higher or lower’ activity. Think of it as a Bruce Forsyth The Price is Right type activity! The students should be surprised with the relatively low cost of two of the houses. This would lead to research why this was the case using the flood risk maps. Once they had made the connection that one of the houses was in Boscastle and the other in Carlisle, then they could research these further and produce a case study.

8. Final activity: Show cartoon or quote on slide 19 and discuss.

Further Ideas

This activity leads to a number of potential further lessons:

  • Flooding case study.
  • Investigating methods of flood protection.
  • Decision making exercise for a chosen town prone to flooding. Use the flood risk maps to decide which areas should be protected. This could be linked to a case study.
  • Possible link to settlement topic and a debate for where new housing should be built. The flood maps could be an integral part of such an decision making activity.


Environment Agency website

Idea 5 in this project site contains a flood hydrograph activity using Boscastle as an example.

Our website has a entire section on flooding and flood risk, with many resources suitable for an in-depth case study. See Flood risk and flood management.

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