This is a great hands-on modeling activity that introduces students to the ideas of design and engineering through the seven AP science practices. Students need to use all seven of the practices to design and engineer a prototype device used to prevent homes from flooding.
Students investigate the problem, create blueprints, and build devices using common classroom materials (straw, tape, playdough). They will then test their model by placing a book (I recommend a dictionary) on top of their device. Financial constraints are included for a more realistic design process, but can be removed for younger groups.