Nature's Fury: Lessons from Historical Hazards--An ePals Project

How have natural hazards shaped the course of human history? What hazards have destroyed cities, altered the size of human populations, changed the course of rivers or driven human migration? In this project, students research and compare the biggest and worst historical hazards in their country and the countries of their ePals, sharing their learning through wiki timelines. Students discuss patterns in the hazards/hazard types. To conclude, ePals decide together (based on historical evidence) a safety rating for each of the class locations in terms of avoiding significant natural hazards.


Subjects: Science



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How have natural hazards shaped the course of human history? What hazards have destroyed cities, altered the size of human populations, changed the course of rivers or driven human migration? In this project, students research and compare the biggest and worst historical hazards in their country and the countries of their ePals, sharing their learning through wiki timelines. Students discuss patterns in the hazards/hazard types. To conclude, ePals decide together (based on historical evidence) a safety rating for each of the class locations in terms of avoiding significant natural hazards.

1. Students will be able to identify natural hazard types, their characteristics and causes.

2. Students will use online research skills to identify and learn about historic natural hazards in their country and the countries of their ePals.

3. Students will create a timeline of historic natural disasters in their country and compare their map and timeline with those of their ePals.

4. Students will synthesize information from multiple online and print sources to explain how mapping the history of natural hazards in a region and an understanding of related geological forces can help forecast the locations and likelihoods of future events.

5. Students will work in small groups to design an international safety rating system, using historical evidence to rate the safety of a country or region in terms of natural hazards.

6. Students will utilize web 2.0 social media tools to have thoughtful, cooperative online discussions about natural hazards content.

7. Students will build a relationship with other students in another part of the world using 21st century tools.

 

Standards:

Framework for L-12 Science Education: Earth and Space Science : ESS3.B: Natural Hazards

By the end of grade 2. Some kinds of severe weather are more likely than others in a given region. Weather scientists forecast severe weather so that communities can prepare for and respond to these events.

 

By the end of grade 5. A variety of hazards result from natural processes (e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, severe weather, floods, coastal erosion). Humans cannot eliminate natural hazards but can take steps to reduce their impacts.

 

By the end of grade 8. Some natural hazards, such as volcanic eruptions and severe weather, are preceded by phenomena that allow for reliable predictions. Others, such as earthquakes, occur suddenly and with no notice, and thus they are not yet predictable. However, mapping the history of earthquakes in a region and an understanding of related geological forces can help forecast the locations and likelihoods of future events.

 

National Science Education Standards: Unifying Concepts and Processes

K-4 Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science

5-8 Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science

 

Common Core ELA Standards

This project meets up to 14 ELA Standards for Grades 6-8. Reading 1, 4, 7, 9, 10 Writing 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 Speaking and Listening 5 Language 4

In small groups, students review the wiki timelines to find patterns and trends in the disasters. Then, they work together to design a Hazard Rating System to rate safety of the ePals geographical locations based on their historical disaster-likelihood (as evidenced in the wiki timelines). Students use small-group forums to discuss their rating system, and vote on ratings for each country. Each small group makes a final presentation of their rating system and the ratings for each country, justifying each rating with evidence from the timelines or other sources.

Step One - –Natural Hazard Forums

Students dive into learning about natural hazards by reading online informational articles and websites and then discussing the content in forums with their ePals!

 

Step Two - Research and Share

Using wikis, students create collaborative disaster timelines for the countries of all participants, citing their research sources.

 

Step Three - Culminating Activity

Students examine the collaborative disaster timelines to find patterns and trends in the types of disasters typical for the different locations. Synthesizing what they’ve learned, students work in small groups to design and present a Hazard Rating System to rate the safety of the ePals geographical locations based on their historical disaster-likelihood.

 

View/Print a PDF of the complete instructional plan including Common Core Connections.

Nature’s Fury: Project Preparation Checklist for Teachers

Nature’s Fury: Complete Instructional Plan

Nature’s Fury: Common Core Alignment

Text Comparison: Teacher Tutorial

Nonfiction Comprehension Strategies: Teacher Tutorial

Introducing Inquiry: Teacher Tutorial

Writing a Science Report Tutorial

Purposeful Nonfiction Reading Tutorial

Reflective Listening Strategy

Thinkmark Strategy

Discussion Group Reflection Strategy

Conversation Building Response Strategy

Reflection T-chart Strategy

 

Use these ePals Science Center

Articles Step 1:

Swallowed by the Sea 

Should We Put the Cat in Her Carrier?

A Famous Flood

Monster Tornado

Did You Know?

Covered in Dust

Growing Up With The Monsoons

Terrible Twister

Great Flood

Hurricane Flight

Quaking Earth, Racing Waves

Ring of Fire

Volcanoes Rock the World

The Year Without A Summer

Drought Rearranges Kingdoms

 

Web Resources

Live Disaster Maps:

Worldwide Disaster Map

U.S. Severe Weather Map

Realtime Earthquake Map (Global)

World Tsunami Alert Map (Global)

Active Volcano Alerts

World Wildfire Map

Live Tornado Map (US)

 

Informational Websites on Natural Disasters:

National Geographic’s Disaster Page

Forces of Nature

FEMA teaches kids how to be informed, make a plan, and build a kit

Owlie’s Skywarn e-book


Natural Disaster Videos:

Hurricane: (National Geographic Video)

Earthquake: (National Geographic Video)

Tornado: (FEMA video)

Tsunami: (Discovery education video)

Wildfire: (National Geographic)

Volcano: (National Geographic)

Natural Disaster Video

 

This project can be completed in three weeks.
Week 1: Step One – Read and Discuss – Natural Hazard Forum Discussions
Week 2: Step Two – Research and Share – Disaster Timelines
Week 3: Culminating Activity

Project Leader:

Country:
Subjects: Science

# of Students: 21-30
Age Range: 8-10
Collaboration: Email Exchange, Skype / Video Chat
Languages: English

About my classroom: BF Yancey is a small, rural elementary school of approximately 150 students in grades pre-Kindergarten through Fifth, located in central Virginia, USA. We are interested in communicating with other students from as many countries as possible regarding your school lunch experience. Do students eat in a cafeteria or common space? What foods are eaten for lunch at school where you live? Is the lunchtime meal prepared by the school or do students bring their own food from home? Are the meals sourced from local farmers and providers? What are the components of your favorite school lunch? We are especially interested in collecting photos of school lunches from around the world! Currently, we prefer to correspond by email and Skype, and to write at least 2x per month. We look forward to meeting you and learning about the food culture of your area.