What Is A Disaster? (Part 2/2)

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SWBAT research and present characteristics of disasters.

Big Idea

Looking at natural disasters, old and new, students collaborate as they research the characteristics of disasters and then share a presentation with their peers.

Share Your Research

35 minutes

The goal of this two (2) part lesson is for students to research about one type of natural disaster and share characteristics and facts about that disaster. I allow a variety of presentation tools as options including: Google Presentations, PowerPoint, a video, a live play, a poster, or Prezi. Other options include: BitStrips, Poplet (app), iMovie, Book Creator (app), Explain Everything (app), and Strip Design (app).

Students take turns sharing their presentations with the class. As each group shares, students are responsible for taking notes and writing what they learned. I provide a Disaster Presentation Worksheet where students can write their responses using a sentence frame. Using this strategy provides student accountability as each group makes their presentation and also helps students to have a focus on the information. The sentence frame will guide students thinking as they listen to the presentations. Sentence frames are especially helpful to ELL and Special Education students.

As students make their presentation, I used a teacher-created rubric to assess their work. This rubric has been shared with each student before they begin the process of researching and developing their presentation. A well-developed rubric will guide students as they create a product.

Students created a variety of presentations including: a google presentation, an iMovie, a Prezi, a live puppet show, and one student group even created a web site for their Volcano information at Volcanic Disaster.

The lesson focuses on a variety of skills including: researching, writing, and presenting. The CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.7 states that students will conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. The CCSS.SL.6.4 states that students will present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts and details to accentuate main ideas or themes, use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

Note: Each lesson in this unit, Master Disaster, works towards mastery of the NGSS MS-ESS 3-2 which states students will analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.

What Did You Learn?

5 minutes

What Did You Learn?

I ask students to reflect on each group presentation by having them take notes on the Disaster Presentation Worksheet which uses the sentence starter "I learned...because..." Sentence starters provide a frame of a complete sentence. This is especially helpful for Special Education and ELL students.

I want students to write quietly for 1-2 minutes after each group presentation. As part of a school wide writing goal, I remind students to use TCA's (Target Correction Areas) such as a capital letter, correct end punctuation, and a complete sentence. 

As these presentations are at the beginning of the Master Disaster Unit, I will use student responses to address questions and/or misconceptions in the next lesson(s) of the unit. This is a formative assessment strategy that will provide feedback to guide my future instruction. It's important to give students a few minutes to process their thoughts and write their response. It's best practice.