Saving the Beach

Coastal erosion is a worldwide problem and threatens much of North America’s coastlines and beaches. Studies show that In Massachusetts, over 65% of the coastline is eroding while 86% of California’s 1,120 miles of coastline are actively eroding. Today, students took a closer look at beach erosion, as they became coastal engineers: brainstorming, planning and designing prototypes to slow beach erosion. The lesson began with a review of what erosion is and what causes a beach to erode.  Then students discussed how erosion affects a beach and its ‘stakeholders’.  Students worked in small groups to build erosion solutions on their model beaches.  Classmates examined and evaluated all of the engineering projects and decided which prototype designs worked the best at protecting the beach. Take a moment to check out the photos from today’s classes. You will be impressed with the creative engineering solutions! For a Lesson Extension, we recommend trying one of the activities offered here: http://baytrippers.thinkport.org/learn/lesson.htm. These are related to human impact (including erosion) in Chesapeake Bay.

Salvemos la Playa

La erosión costera es un problema en el mundo entero y amenaza la mayoría de las playas y costas de América del Norte. Estudios han demostrado que en Massachusetts más del 65% de la costa está erosionada. Por otro lado, el 86% de las 1.120 millas de costa Californiana, está sufriendo un proceso de erosión activa (http://www.beachapedia.org). Hoy los estudiantes se convirtieron en ingenieros costeros y estudiaron más de cerca el fenómeno de erosión en las playas. Los estudiantes planificaron y diseñaron prototipos para enlentecer el proceso de erosión. La clase comenzó con una introducción sobre la erosión, sus causas y luego discutimos acerca cómo la erosión afecta a la playa y también a la gente. Grupos de estudiantes trabajaron en playas modelos y construyeron prototipos para solucionar la erosión. Finalmente, entre todos los compañeros examinaron y evaluaron todos los proyectos de ingeniería y decidieron cuál de los prototipos funcionaría mejor para proteger las playas. Tómese el tiempo de revisar las fotos de la lección del día de hoy. ¡Se impresionará con las creativas soluciones de los estudiantes!

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Author

Dr. Maureen Griffin

Maureen earned a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. While at Penn, she developed a novel micro-mechanical technique called micropipette peeling to investigate the role of muscle cell adhesion in normal and diseased skeletal muscle cells. After graduating, Maureen worked full time as a post-doctoral researcher and then a staff scientist a SelectX Pharmaceuticals. She joined the teaching staff in 2008 and was excited to be made an executive staff member in 2009. Maureen also continued to consult part time for SelectX until her daughter's birth in 2009; now she is focused on Science from Scientists and, of course, her children. Maureen uses her spare time to read, blog, cook, and renovate her house.

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