The flooding of Klossköping – an educational illustration

How can we make it fun for younger children to learn about dangers in our society? Klossköping is a model town made from Lego which aims to teach children aged 6-10 about flood risks and town planning by letting the children take on the role of town planners themselves. By pouring water over Klossköping, children can see what effects a flood can have and then rebuild their town to a safer design.

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) has developed an educational model for teaching children aged 6-10 about flooding. It is a model town called Klossköping, made completely from Lego. As a concept it is based on an earlier educational model. As that was large-scale and aimed at slightly older children and young people, MSB developed a model town that could easily be dismantled and rebuilt. 

The Klossköping concept includes instructions on how to build up a basic model of buildings and landforms using the bricks. Teachers build up their own Klossköping and then cause a flood by pouring water over the town, so that the children can see how different buildings and important areas are affected.  The teacher is responsible for acquiring the building materials, and although the basic model is in Lego other types of bricks can also be used. 

Klossköping
An example of Klossköping. Foto Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap (MSB)

In the next step, the water is removed from the model and the children then work together to find ways of making the town more secure, perhaps by building embankments. The children are given only a small number of building blocks so that they are forced to prioritise, for, just as in real life, the challenge is to protect as much as possible with limited resources. So they have to be intelligent builders! The water is then poured over the model again and the children together evaluate what they’ve done.

In a final step, they rebuild the town to make it safe from flooding, perhaps by moving essential services to higher ground and protecting vulnerable areas with permanent barriers.

Major educational opportunities

So far Klossköping has been tested on primary school classes where it has proved a success. A 3D model is perfect for visualising problems in areas at risk of flooding and a good way to teach children about natural disasters.

Financing

The cost of producing Klossköping was about SEK 3,000, which mainly went on materials since Agency staff already had the necessary expertise for building a model town.

More examples of climate adaptation

This is one of many examples of climate adaptation. There are more in the collection of ideas being built up by the Swedish National Knowledge Centre for Climate Change Adaptation at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI). The collection of examples has the aim of sharing experiences and providing ideas to everyone who works with climate adaptation. Examples describe concrete measures and challenges in several subject areas. They show how different actors have worked to adapt their activities to the climate changes that are already being noticed today and those that we cannot prevent in the future.