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


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Economics, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 6 minutes, 36 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States


YouTube Video

The Problems with Rebuilding Beaches

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  • This video shows how coastal erosion affects the vast majority of sandy beaches in the United States. The federal government funds beach nourishment projects in areas where the return on investment is high, but the projects are only a temporary fix. 
  • Students will learn that beach nourishment projects often give property developers and residents a false sense of security. 
Teaching Tips


  • Students will learn that beach nourishment projects are expensive and ineffective in the long term.
  • The video does a good job of explaining erosion in simple terms.
  • The video description offers links to articles on beach nourishment.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This video begins with an advertisement.
  • The video does not address how climate change and sea level rise factor into rapid coastal erosion.


  • Earth science classes could use this video to discuss natural erosion as well as the role that sea level rise plays in exacerbating the rate of coastal erosion. Students could generate ideas for how the federal government could spend the money that is earmarked for beach nourishment projects on projects that would have better long-term effects on preserving beaches.
  • Economics classes could discuss the role that the federal government plays in bolstering the tourist economy in coastal areas. Students could have a debate on whether or not government funding for beach nourishment is a solution for keeping the tourist economy afloat.
  • Other resources on this topic include this PBS video on sea level rise and extreme weather in Miami, this video on how an artificial oyster reef is slowing coastal erosion in Staten Island, and this Global Oneness video that shows how coastal erosion and sea level rise have destroyed an island community off the coast of Louisiana.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a 7-minute video that introduces the topic of coastal and beach erosion and discusses the primary engineering strategy for rebuilding these beaches: beach nourishment. This is a labor- and energy-intensive strategy in which sands are dredged and used to rebuild or expand existing beaches. This resource focuses primarily on sandy beaches used for tourism and the complex interactions between economics, tourism, and coastal erosion. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 7.ESS3.2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS.ETS1.1 Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
      • HS.ETS1.3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
  • Social Sciences
    • Economics (K-8)
      • 6.8 Evaluate alternative approaches or solutions to economic issues in terms of benefits and costs for historically marginalized groups and individuals in early major western and non-western civilizations.
      • 7.8 Examine how economic decisions affect the well-being of individuals, businesses, and society.
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