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What a Disaster!
Author: Sylvia Kniest


Time: 2-3 class periods
Preparation
Time:
Create cards with the names of disasters on them.
Copy research questions for the students.
Materials: Disaster cards
Research Questions
Poster boards, glue, markers, colored pencils

 


Abstract
Students will research one of the disasters identified by the class in the previous engage lesson in order to explore the question: How does where you live influence your quality of life and the ability to cope with natural and human-induced disasters?
Students will address this question by creating a poster presentation for the rest of the class.

Objectives
Students will be able to:
1. Identify the causes of major natural disasters in a written response and on a poster.
2. Explain with a written response, on a poster and to peers in an oral presentation, how people adapt to living in an environment that may be disaster prone.
3. Explain with a written response, on a poster and to peers in an oral presentation, the economic impact that disasters have on a country or region.

National Geography Standard
NSS-G.K-12.5 ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY
All students should

  • Understand how human actions modify the physical environment.
  • Understand how physical systems affect human systems.
  • Understand the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.

Related and Resource Websites
http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Environment_and_Nature/Disasters/ website on natural and manmade disasters for student research

 

 

Activity
Prepare for student research on a specific disaster; either human-induced or natural by creating a set of cards. On each card write the name of a disaster: fire, earthquake, flood, disease, tornado, tsunami, nuclear accident, hurricane, volcanic eruption, drought, avalanche, oil spill, landslide, or other (that students may have come up with in the engage lesson). The teacher may want to have students draw the card on the day prior to going to the computer lab. After students have drawn the card they may then be asked to identify if it is a human-induced or natural disaster. This allows the students time to begin answering their research questions in preparation for the next day.

Day 1:

  • Students will be assigned a disaster from the list provided in the previous lesson to research in the computer lab or library. Students may be randomly handed a card with the name of a disaster written on it as they enter the computer lab. Inform students that they will spend the class period researching their assigned disaster. As they explore their topic they should answer the corresponding research questions. The information that they gather will be used to compile a poster and write a news story.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

NAME OF DISASTER:___________

TYPE (natural or human-induced):___________

1. In what region(s) of the world does this disaster occur?
2. Describe the damage that may be created:
3. Can this disaster be predicted? If so, how?
4. What is the cause of this disaster?
5. Describe a recent occurrence of this type of disaster:
6. Explain how people cope with living in a region that may be threatened by this disaster. How do they survive? What help do they receive after a disaster occurs? (If more than one geographic region may be vulnerable to this type of disaster, choose one region).
7. What effects does this disaster have on the economy of the country/region?
8. Who is most vulnerable to the effects of this disaster and why? Does population density, poverty, housing, limited resources have any have any effect on the severity of the disaster?

Day 2:

  • Students will use their research in the classroom to construct a poster that illustrates their disaster. Students should keep in mind the central question: How does where you live influence your quality of life and the ability to cope with natural and human-induced disasters?

Poster Criteria:
1. Posters must have a title that answers the central question: How does where you live influence your quality of life and the ability to cope with natural and human-induced disasters?
2. Include a world map that identifies the region(s) where this disaster occurs.
3. Include a drawing or photograph of the disaster.
4. List the following items:
Factors that cause this disaster to occur
Damage caused by the disaster
How people respond to and recover from the disaster
How the residents of the area have adapted to their hazard-prone environment.

*** Teachers may want to assign the poster as homework to save class time and materials.

Day 3:
Students will display their posters and teach the class about their natural disaster. Members of the class will write down three main ideas in their notes:

1. Name of disaster
2. The damage it causes
3. Adaptations people have made in order to survive after the disaster.

Students will label the disaster on their map in the region it usually strikes or the most recent occurrence (for disasters that may strike anywhere: fire, etc)

Closure
Students may be assigned to construct their posters for homework if the teacher chooses this option.

Embedded Assessment
In class, written responses to the guiding research questions will allow for initial assessment of the students’ ability to identify the causes of major diseases and explain the human and economic response to them. The poster and class teaching allows for assessment of their ability to assimilate research and present to the class a disaster-specific response to the question,” How does where you live influence your quality of life and the ability to cope with natural and human-induced disasters?”



PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:


an
NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award

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Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694


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Last update: November 10, 2009
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