Science project

Another Tragedy Waiting To Happen

Difficulty Level




Safety Issues


Material Availability

All necessary materials are readily available.

Project Time Frame

4-8 weeks


This project looks at potential improvements in flood prevention. 

The goals of this project are: 

  1. To attempt to prevent another tragedy in Gonaives.
  2. To encourage technological advances against flooding. 

Materials and Equipment  

  • Computer with internet access
  • Color printer
  • Digital camera
  • Typical office/craft supplies (such as paper, pens & poster-board) 

All materials can be found in your home, at local stores, or on ebay. 


The Haitian city of Gonaives has been destroyed by flooding twice since 2004. Each time, hundreds of lives were lost, and hundreds of thousands more were left homeless. Due to the mass destruction caused by the recent earthquake in Port au Prince, many Haitian refugees have returned once again to Gonaives. This project explores the different ways in which Gonaives can be made a safer place to live. 

Research Questions 
  1. Why was Gonaives destroyed by flood twice in the past few years?
  2. How can this be prevented from happening again, and what would be the cost?
  3. What are some flood prevention methods and devices currently in use?
  4. How can flood damage best be controlled or minimized? 
Terms and Concepts to Start Background Research 
  • Dam
  • Drainage systems
  • Elevated building
  • Floodways
  • Retaining Wall  

Experimental Procedure 

  1. Research related materials (see bibliography below)
  2. Create or obtain a terrain map of Gonaives.
  3. Design a workable, cost-effective, flood management system for that region.
  4. Build a model that illustrates your idea.
  5. Suggest the ways in which your plan could actually be put into effect.
  6. Carefully describe your ideas in a detailed report.
  7. Include interesting photos in your science fair display, as well as your map(s) and model. 

Bibliography (The economics of flooding)

Wiki searches: “Flood” “Flood Control” and “Haiti.”

Internet searches of your own choosing: Search for any of the terms listed above (or make up your own phrases to search), and click on any results that interest you. Have fun surfing the net!

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Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

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