I looked forward to this topic as it has always been a subject that has interested me, especially from seeing the effects of these Natural Disasters in the media, but my knowledge and appreciation of the topic was rather minimal.
Natural disasters are catastrophic events that impact people, animals and the environment. This can result in loss of life, loss of property/destroyed buildings as well as a major negative effect of economy. Some natural disasters may be; Volcanoes, fires, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes. The topic of natural disasters is a sensitive subject to teach so caution and consideration should be taken when knowing what is appropriate for age groups and when finding resources eg. videos or news reports. I think that Disasters is a very important topic to teach as it can give pupils perspective and a sense of global responsibility.
This is an example of a primary age appropriate resource to use:
When a country has been impacted by a natural disaster or is at risk, there are 3 key considerations that can highlight how effective the situation is dealt with before and after the disaster occurs, these being; Preparedness, response and recovery.
The United states are vulnerable to natural disaster due to its location, America is impacted mainly by hurricanes fires and earthquakes. The U.S department of homeland security provides guidance and instruction upon these 3 considerations for the natural disasters they are susceptible to, to ensure their country is well equipped and given guidance if one may occur. This is an example of a developed county that has the means and money to make sure they are prepared but also to support and recover after disasters. (U.S department of Homeland Security, 2018) For example, Hurricane Katrina the hit the U.S in 2005, over $61 billion was provided for aid by the U.S government.
Although, in contrast developing countries such as Haiti, that was devastated by an Earthquake in 2010, did not have the same means to support their people. Days after the incident, as there were shortages in food, water and medical supplies, there was an uproar of violence, looting and gang-related gun fire. People were in desperate situations and some were seen pushing children and elderly out of the way to get supplies from food trucks. (The Telegraph, 2010)
This clear contrast between developed and developing countries, provides opportunity within the classroom to tie in other issues such as international community response, politics and global responsibility. Personally, after inquiring further into these two situations, I was astounded by how different these disaster were prepared for, responded to and then recovered from. This would also allow for using research skills on an academic level as well as being culturally aware in a personal sense. To highlight the importance of making this comparison I have noted the following experiences and outcomes:
I can compare the social and economic differences between more and less economically-developed countries and can discuss the possibilities for reducing these differences.
(Education Scotland, 2019)
As a tool for reflection and producing possible solutions to problems we were introduced to Issue trees. These are when a tree outline is drawn and then with the representation of roots being causes, the trunk being the issue, the branches being the effects and the fruit being the solutions. I think this tool could be utilised in many ways within a school, even to concern issues such as littering. In terms of Disasters, it provides a visual aid that identifies Issues that are connected to Disasters and the effects that these can have.
Personally, I found this task very helpful as it presented information in a way that made me consider what I was writing in more depth and engaged me more. I think that pupils would respond similar to myself, and find this a great tool to break down information into certain categories and deepen understanding.
To be able to bring the topic of Disasters into the classroom, especially as in Scotland the likeliness of our country being impacted by a natural disaster is rather slim, is key to allowing learners to fully understand and see how these disasters occur and what they may look like. Through science lessons, we can conducted small scale experiments that imitate how certain disasters look.
An example of a disaster that can be easily mimicked in small experiments is volcanoes. Firstly, we can use baking soda and vinegar to produce a reaction that resembles a volvano eruption, here is a video example of this experiment:
Secondly, a beaker layered with wax, sand then water and heated by a bunsen burner, can also illustate how a volcano erupts, this experiment would be conducted by the teacher and if the school does not have the facilities to do this experiment a possible visit to the local high school could be suggested.
I was initially hesitant before conducting these experiments as I don’t think of myself as ‘science minded’ and have never always engaged with or had a lot of interest in science. However, after conducting these experiments, and others in the session, I feel more confident to do them in a class setting and I now realise the importance of doing them and providing that visual and interactive example.
To enhance our knowledge, we were asked to conduct a micro-teaching lesson in groups about specific disasters, my groups topic was Tsunami’s. We explored how the teaching of this topic would be approached, what specifics may be best to focus on when teaching it and gave examples of tasks and experiments that can be carried out to aid the teaching. As a group, I felt like we worked well when preparing for micro-teaching, through this process I feel like I developed my collaborative, communication and teamwork skills. As well as gaining more knowledge on the topic and was able to effectively analyse information to produce an informative and suitable micro-teaching presentation.
Link to Google docs (presentation for micro-teaching) : https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1-Fdiy-iCcsz33hZEYH_0Q6QzerJLJafRAW16P6BxI3w/edit?usp=sharing
- U.S department of homeland security, 2018. Natural Disasters. [Online] Available: https://www.dhs.gov/natural-disasters [Accessed 5th November 2019]
- The Telegraph 2010. Haiti Earthquake: looting and gun-fights breakout.[Online] Available : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/haiti/7005554/Haiti-earthquake-looting-and-gun-fights-break-out.html [Accessed 5th November 2019]
- Education Scotland. (2019) . Curriculum for excellence: Social studies : experiences and outcomes. [Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/social-studies-eo.pdf [Accessed 5th November 2019]