April has definitely lived up to the first part of its mantra “in like a lion.” This month, parts of the United States have been ravaged by tornadoes, flooding, and fires which have destroyed homes, schools, and even entire towns. Teachers and students need to be aware of the safety precautions and measures in order to stay safe during these natural and man-made disasters.
Schools always have safety plans in case of these events directly correlating to the area of the country that you reside. However, a unique lesson about learning about weather and disasters is to go above and beyond just teaching the students about staying safe. A unique lesson idea would be to explore the ideas in more depth so that the students have a deeper understanding of the events. Since this topic is close to their actual experiences in real life, they will take away the learning from the lesson and be able to apply it if and when needed throughout their lives.
This is especially important for students with special needs. Some students may not be mobile nor have the independent skills needed to move into a safe area during a weather or disaster threat. A plan should be in place to help student reach safety including other adults and students to assist those students in need. If the students are educated on what to expect this will help the students to not panic during a real emergency.
Websites for Lesson Ideas about Fire, Flood, and Tornado Safety
Sparky the Fire Dog is a great resource for younger children to learn about fire safety in homes and schools. On this website, there are interactive activities for students and lesson plans for teachers. There are printables for a home fire safety checklist and an escape route grid that students can create.
To learn about wildfires, using the resources provided by Smokey the Bear are great to make connections with students. This website has resources for all ages of students. Older students can learn about the science of wildfires and how to fight wildfires while younger students can learn about being smart outdoors.
FEMA’s website for learning about disasters provides informative facts about the disasters along with interactive activities. There are sections on wildfires, floods, and tornados. Each section provides a written explanation appropriate for kids about the disasters, what they can do to prepare in case of the disaster, along with pictures of kids in the aftermath of the disasters that are not too graphic, but provide the students with the understanding of the impact of such an event.
Weather Wiz Kids is another website that provides fun and interactive information about weather related events. This website is written by a meteorologist directly for kids and teachers. This website has experiments and activities to learn about the weather events along with safety information and weather related information on what causes the events. There are many informative pictures that help making learning the subject visual and engaging. Lesson plans are provided for teachers to make the connections between the information on the websites and activities and assessments students can complete to show their knowledge of the subject matter.
For older kids, Discovery Channel’s “Storm Chasers” would be an engaging resource for students to learn about tornados. The show is a high energy show that gets close up images of the tornado chasers, tornados, and the devastation that they can leave behind. Students can watch clips of the episodes, play the educational games, take online quizzes about the episodes, or follow their weather tracking site based on the various episodes.
All of these lesson ideas will help to prepare students in the event of a disaster along with teaching core-curriculum science content.
Article By Laura Ketcham
Picture By pixthree