Saturday, March 26, 2011

Japan: Disaster Relief

Millions of people around the globe have been thunderstruck and horrified by the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and resulting nuclear crisis that have unfolded in Japan in recent weeks. Stark images of the utter destruction left in the tsunami’s wake replay continuously on news reports, leaving viewers wondering how the affected communities can possibly rebuild after such a tragedy. Where does one start? The sheer scope of the destruction seems overwhelming.

Many older students will likely remember Hurricane Katrina, the deadly hurricane that ripped through the American Gulf Coast in 2005, causing over $81 billion dollars in damage and killing over 1,800 people. Katrina ranks as the most costly natural disaster in American history, and one from which the Gulf states are still struggling to recover. Depending on their ages, students may react to the news of disasters such as the earthquake in Japan and Hurricane Katrina in different ways. Younger students look for reassurance of their own personal safety and that of their families, while older students want to understand how such catastrophes occur, what can be done to prevent them, and how they can help the affected communities.

Last fall, Peggy and I wrote columns on natural disasters, specifically on how to prepare for one and how to respond should a disaster occur. In my column, I offered resources on safety preparations, community rebuilding, and how the human body physically reacts in response to traumatic events such as a natural disaster. In Peggy’s companion column, she offered excellent ideas on how to tackle this often difficult topic in the classroom. I encourage you to take a look at them both.

This week, I’m featuring all-new resources for all ages on disaster relief and emergency management in the wake of a natural disaster. Throughout the week, I’ll be featuring many additional lessons and activities on our Facebook and Twitter pages, all focusing on disaster relief and how such disasters affect our communities. Finally, on behalf of the entire Gateway team, I’d like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to everyone in Japan. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Be Disaster Safe: Emergency Management
Subjects: Health, Safety, Government
Grade: 3-5
In this lesson, students learn that communities have systems in place and that agencies cooperate to take care of the community’s needs during emergencies and disasters. This lesson was produced by the American Red Cross, the nation’s premier emergency response organization since 1881. In addition to providing international and national emergency relief services, the Red Cross also offers safety information resources for parents, teachers, and students.

Dealing with Disasters
Subjects: Geography, Earth science, Civics
Grade: 6-8
In this lesson, students will study potential natural hazards in their community, report on local hazards in small groups, and discuss community preparation and response for one or more of these forces of nature. This lesson is a product of National Geographic Xpeditions, part of the National Geographic Society. The site offers all kinds of lesson plans, daily global news, and interactive games that focus on geography and foreign cultures. This lesson is aligned to U.S. national geography standards.

Disaster Relief – Power, Generosity and Leadership
Subjects: Economics, Civics, Character Education
Grade 9-12
Students will research problems caused by a natural disaster and cite examples of aid provided in an effort to help those devastated populations. They will investigate the role of the four economic sectors in responding to the needs. They will participate in a collection campaign or other service project and learn about organizations to which they can contribute their philanthropy. Students carry out the project, track their results, advocate for the cause, and reflect on their participation. This lesson was produced by Learning to Give, the curriculum arm of The LEAGUE, which is a school-based system that combines lesson plans with community service events. This lesson is aligned to national, state, and some international education standards.

~Joann's Picks - 3/25/11~

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