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New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Engineering, Computer Science

Resource Types

  • Activity - Classroom
  • Worksheets

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New Jersey, Jersey Shore



Ecological Design Challenge: Brigantine

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  • In this activity, students will design a plan to reduce tidal flooding, manage stormwater, stabilize the shoreline, and restore the habitat in Brigantine City, New Jersey.
  • The plans must include criteria for success and a method for monitoring the site.
  • This activity is a part of New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection's educational program, Building Ecological Solutions for Coastal Community Hazards. 
Teaching Tips


  • This activity gives students a chance to use design thinking skills to solve real-world problems.
  • The instructions and images of the actual site are included in the PDF.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers may want to discuss types of structural features that can help prevent flooding and erosion before students begin the activity.
  • This NJ DEP site provides photographs, site assessments, permitting documents, and other information about the Brigantine Living Shorelines project.
  • Teachers may want to share this rubric with students so students are clear about the teacher's expectations for the activity.


  • Students could work individually, in pairs, or in small groups.
  • Teachers could extend the activity into a larger project, including three-dimensional models, posters, slideshows, or diagrams to explain their plans.
  • To expand the project, students could discuss if their plans would work for the three other locations in Brigantine that face similar problems. Students could consider the following questions:
    • What parts of the plan would probably change, depending on the location?
    • What information would your team need to serve each location?
    • Are there parts of the plan that would probably remain the same in every location?
  • Other resources on this topic include this video on infrastructure adaptations to address rising sea levels, this CimateScience course on mitigation and adaptation, and this Rutgers Climate Institute video on responding to climate change in New Jersey.
Scientist Notes
The resource challenges students to co-design solutions for shoreline and habitat protection to mitigate tidal flood damage on human activities within the shoreline and the upland. This is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS.ESS2.5 Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS.ETS1.1 Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
      • MS.ETS1.4 Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
      • HS.ETS1.2 Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS.LS2.7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
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