Students watch a video about the Great Flood of 1993, a disaster that impacted the entire state of Iowa and eight surrounding states. They learn about the flood, answer questions on its causes and effects, and then compare the Great Flood of 1993 to the Flood of 2008, using descriptions about each disaster.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Iowa | Unit 8: Modern Iowa." In this unit, students will explore the challenges and opportunities facing Iowa in the 21st century.
H.SS.3.25/H.SS.4.23: Explain probable causes and effects of events and developments.
H.SS.5.24: Explain probable causes and effects of historical developments.
Video: The Great Flood of 1993
An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
Class set of The Iowan Floods readings
Class set of Great Flood of 1993 / Flood of 2008 graphic organizer
- Explain to students that a mix of meteorological conditions is necessary to cause flooding. This mix occurred in 1993, when one of the worst and costliest floods in the United States happened along the Mississippi River, affecting large parts of Iowa. The Mississippi River carries more water during the March–May months, but record amounts of rainfall in July of 1993 far exceeded levels anticipated by levee engineers.
- Define vocabulary as needed:
- Levees – walls used to regulate water levels
- Tributary – a river or stream flowing into a larger river or lake
- Play the video, The Great Flood of 1993 [3:35]. Ask students what they learned about the causes and effects of this natural disaster [causes: unusual jet stream pattern, saturated ground from a wet spring; effects: people lost homes, farmers lost crops]. Point out that though nine states were affected by the flood, only Iowa experienced flooding throughout the entire state.
- Tell students that parts of Iowa also experienced significant flooding in 2008. They will be gathering more specifics about the 1993 flood and learn about the 2008 flood by doing two readings based on information from NOAA.
- Put students in pairs. Give each student The Iowan Floods readings and the Great Flood of 1993 / Flood of 2008 graphic organizer. Have one student read about the 1993 flood and fill in the chart, and have their partner do the same for 2008. Then, have students teach each other about “their” flood. Students should complete the worksheet using the information provided by their partner.
- To complete the lesson, ask students to share similarities and differences between the causes and effects of these two flood events.