The current floods Australia is experiencing gave us a learning opportunity to understand how floods occur, how we can prepare and recover. I’ve collected a few resources to discuss the natural disaster of floods with our children.
Floods occur all over the world and they have been happening for the longest time. Many ancient cultures have legends about floods and one we’re most familiar with is the Flood of Noah in the Bible that covered land all over the world. Noah and his family survived because God warned Noah and instructed him to build an ark. Noah obeyed God’s instruction and when the time was right, God brought the animals to Noah to place on the ark along with his family. Noah wanted to take his people with him, but they refused. Soon, it rained for 40 days and nights, and everything but the ark was swallowed up in the floodwaters.
We never need to be afraid of a worldwide flood of this magnitude happening, as God made a covenant or a promise with His people that He would never flood the earth again. He placed the rainbow in the clouds as a sign of this promise He made to us. You can read the account of Noah’s Flood in Genesis 6:9-9:17.
Noah’s flood is not the only ancient account of a worldwide flood. There are a number of ancient flood legends known by China, Africa, Greece, Mexico, and North American Indian cultures. Learn more about these legends with the Flood Legend Trading Cards.
Or listen to the Chen Dynasty Flood Legend below.
Ancient Legends of floods come to mind as “ South-east Queensland and the north coast of New South Wales have borne the brunt of catastrophic weather conditions“ (The Guardian, 4th March 2022) that have caused mass flooding. ” The record-breaking speed and severity of the floods in northern NSW and south-east Queensland were caused by a “highly unusual” combination of weather events…” (ABC News, 4th March 2022).
One of these weather events is the current La Nina weather system that has caused high rainfall in two years. All this rain has overflowed into water catchments like rivers and lakes and filled the water table beneath the ground. La Nina occurs in Australia every 3-7 years, so it is unusual to have them back-to-back. This video explains La Nina’s weather systems.
Other causes of floods include hurricanes, thawing snow, overflowing dams, and slow-moving heavy rain. A flood can happen over several hours, days, or weeks. A flood is a rise of water with no place to go. They come in all depths from a few centimeters in your backyard to several meters.
The ground is like a sponge that soaks up the rain, but once the water table has risen and the ground is soaked, water begins to settle on the surface, usually running into water catchments like rivers, dams, and lakes. Floods can turn a gently flowing stream into a force that overpowers everything in its path.
Once water catchments are full, they begin to overflow into low-lying regions or towns causing flooding. Understand floods with the tutorials below.
Read Flood by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley. Access Flood lesson plans for Years 1-2 here.
Although floods cause so much destruction in urban environments, they are important for agricultural communities that grow our food and desert boom seasons where excess floodwaters run through dry streams and rivers to fill lakes in Australia’s dry center.
Search your library for Desert Lake: The Story of Kati Thunda – Lake Eyre.
Create a Simulation of a Flood.
Websites to explore:
- Bureau of Meteorology National Flood Warning Services
- Geo-Science Australia | Floods
- Australian Floods Daily Map
- Australia’s Worst Floods Fact Cards
- Australian Geographic | Top 10 Worst Floods in Australia
Here is an excellent lesson plan for Australian floods by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience.
Your older children may like to complete a research project on a flood disaster. They can use these project pages to help them collect and organise their research.
If you have been affected by the recent floods, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. If we can help in one small way, please contact us and we’ll do our best to meet your need.