Disaster Trackers--An ePals Project

Students in two classrooms track and discuss real time disasters! They read to become experts on one disaster type and write to share their informational expertise. Project Notes: Ideal for 2 classroom collaboration (classrooms from different global locations).

5 week project.

Subjects: Science

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Students in two classrooms track and discuss real time disasters! They read to become experts on one disaster type and write to share their informational expertise. Project Notes: Ideal for 2 classroom collaboration (classrooms from different global locations).

5 week project.

1. Students will be able to identify more than one natural disaster type, their characteristics, causes and ways humans can reduce their impact.

2. Students will use online research skills to identify and learn about current natural disasters occurring around the world.

3. Students will use 21st century communication and collaboration tools (email, forums and wikis) to share their disaster research.

4. Students will synthesize information from multiple online and print sources about natural disasters.

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



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.


National Science Education Standards

Science as Inquiry

K-4 Content Standard C: Life Science

K-4 Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science


Common Core ELA Standards

This project meets up to 7 Common Core ELA Standards including R1, R7, W6, W7, W8, W10.

View the Common Core Alignment document for a complete standards listing by grade.

Students create informational items (pamphlets, web pages, articles) to share their disaster expertise!

Culminating Activity

1. Clearly explain to students that their mission is to write to inform others about the disaster type they studied.

2. Have students brainstorm ideas about how they could communicate their information – brochure, website, article, etc.

3. Students write their informational item and trade with a peer in their small group for revision.

4. Final products are shared with ePals in the project gallery.

Step 1: Tracking Natural Disasters + email #1

Students use live disaster mapping technology to track real time disasters. Students exchange an email about what they have learned about current worldwide disasters.


Step 2: Disaster Experts + email #2

Students choose a disaster type to research in small groups. Students exchange emails about the information they are collecting.


Step 3: Protect and Prepare + email #3

Students research how people protect and prepare themselves for future disasters. Students exchange emails about what their communities, schools or families do to protect and prepare.


Step 4: Culminating Activity + email #4

Students create an informational item (pamphlet, web page, magazine article, etc.) to inform other kids about the disaster type they researched. Students exchange emails sharing their culminating projects.


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

Week 1: Tracking Natural Disasters + email #1
Week 2: Disaster Experts + email #2
Week 3: Protect and Prepare + email #3
Week 4: Culminating Activity + email #4

Project Leader:

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.