Stormwater Management in Residential Properties

Title: Stormwater Reduction in Residential Properties

Time Frame: 13 days (45 minute periods) 


Overview of Lesson

     This problem- based learning lesson looks at the increase of stormwater runoff due to effects of humans continuing to develop more and more of the landscape by building roads, streets, sidewalks, factories, etc. Students will analyze the benefits of using green infrastructure to reduce the amount of runoff in their community and increase biodiversity. Each lab group will play the role of a resident in a community. Their goal is to use the engineering design process to create a model showing how they will decrease stormwater runoff and increase biodiversity. The lesson ends with each lab group presenting their green infrastructure plan to a board. Please note that this lesson focuses specifically on the City of Lancaster in PA, however, documents can be modified depending your specific location.

Resources included in this lesson are found at the bottom of this document and include:

●      A Teacher Guide that outlines the structure of the lesson (start here)

●      Introduction PowerPoint and Notes (Combined Sewer System and Green vs Gray Infrastructure)

●      Introduction Letter to Students

●      Stormwater Management Project Description and Timeline (student overview and copy)

●      Stormwater Management Engineering Design Process Slides Presentation    

●     Green Infrastructure (GI) Research Jigsaw Assignment

●     Fact Sheets for each type of GI in Jigsaw


Stage 1 - Desired Results

Big Idea(s)

  1. The Earth’s surface processes affect and are affected by human activities.


PA Core Standards / Next Generation Science Standards

T & E Education

Science Education

Mathematics Education


●      3.4.7.B1: Explain how decisions to develop and use technologies may be influenced by environmental and economic concerns.

●      3.4.7.D1: Identify and collect information about everyday problems that can be solved by technology and generate ideas and requirements for solving a problem.

●      S7.A.2.1: Apply knowledge of scientific investigation or technological design in different contexts to make inferences, solve problems, and/or answer questions.


●      S7.D.1.2: Describe the characteristic features and significance of Earth’s water systems.

●      S7.D.1.2.3 Describe the importance of water systems on the diversity and distribution of life on Earth.

●      S7.A.1.1 Explain, interpret, and apply scientific, environmental, or technological knowledge presented in a variety of formats (visuals, scenarios, graphs).

●      S7.A.1.2 Identify and explain the impacts of applying scientific, environmental, or technological knowledge to address solutions to practice problems.

●      S8.B.3.3.1: Explain how human activities may affect local, regional, and global environments.

●      S8.B.3.3.3: Describe how waste management affects the environment (e.g., recycling, composting, landfills, incineration, sewage treatment).

●      CC.2.2.7.B.3: Model and solve real-world and mathematical problems by using and connecting numerical, algebraic, and/or graphical representations.

●      13.3.8.C: Explain and demonstrate conflict resolution skills

- Constructive Criticism

- Group Dynamics

- Managing/ leadership

- Mediation

- Negotiation

- Problem Solving



Essential Questions

●     How do Earth’s processes and human activities affect each other?

●     How can the engineering design process be used to solve real-life problems?


Lesson Specific:

●     How can residents decrease the amount of stormwater runoff on their properties?

●     How can residents implement green infrastructure to increase biodiversity on their properties?

●     How does stormwater runoff affect ecosystems?


Students Will Know

Students Will Be Doing

●     Content specific vocab

○     Tech Ed

■     Engineering Design Process

■     Prototype

■     Model

○     Science

■     Biodiversity

■     Runoff

■     Tributaries

■     Watershed

■     Estuary

■     Water Cycle

■     Green Infrastructure

■     Gray Infrastructure

■     Combined Sewer System

■     Combined Sewer System Overflow

■     Pervious and Impervious Surface

○     Math

■     Percent Change

■     Area

○     Career Ed

■     Environmental Engineer

○     Engineering Design Process

■     Ask

■     Imagine

■     Plan

■     Create

■     Test

■     Improve

■     Share



●     Describing how combined sewer systems function.

●     Explaining the negative effects of stormwater runoff on the Chesapeake Bay.

●     Researching Green Infrastructure

●     Applying the Engineering Design Process to solve a real-world problem

●     Building a model to limit the amount of runoff

●     Presenting information to a committee


Stage 2 - Evidence of Understanding

Assessments (Formative and Summative):

Performance Task(s)

●     Informal Formative Assessments

○     Warm up questions

○     Introduction Notes

●     Formal Assessments on:

○     Stormwater Management Slides Presentation

●     Individual Course Summative Assessments

○     Group Presentation to the Board

○     Green Infrastructure Model

●     Create a model that uses Green Infrastructure to decrease the amount of stormwater runoff and increase biodiversity.

●     Present your plan to a board using technology.


Stage 3 - Lesson Learning Targets

Learning Activities:


●      Compare and contrast green and gray infrastructure.

●      Explain the effects of stormwater runoff on the environment and biosphere.

●      Design and create a model to decrease the amount of runoff on your property.

●      Explain how green infrastructure benefits the environment.

●      Research the different types of green infrastructure

●      Calculate the percent change of runoff.

●      Explain the benefits related to biodiversity when green infrastructure is used.

●      Summarize the importance of biodiversity in an ecosystem.


Download: Teacher_Resource_Stormwater_Management_Timeline_pdf.pdf

Download: Letter_from_Save_It_Lancaster.docx

Download: Stormwater_Management_STEM_Project_Description_and_Timeline_.docx

Download: Stormwater_Management_Stem_Project_Introduction.pptx

Download: Stormwater_Management_Introduction_Notes..docx

Download: Jigsaw_Research_Graphic_Organizer_and_Directions.docx

Download: Group_1_Rain_Barrel_-_GI_Jigsaw.pdf

Download: Group_2_Rain_Garden_-_GI_Jigsaw.pdf

Download: Group_3_Green_Roof_-_GI_Jigsaw.pdf

Download: Group_4_Vegetated_Swale_-_GI_Jigsaw.pdf

Download: Group_5_Pervious_Pavement_-_GI_Jigsaw.pdf

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