In this last fortnight we have been examining the concept of disasters. A disaster comes about from natural hazards of the environment such as earthquakes, cyclones, floods and erupting volcanos. They are defined as a disaster “when they impact human society to cause social disruption, material damage and loss of life” (Middleton, 2013, p488).


  • Natural hazards are physical phenomena of the environment they can become a disaster by the interference of human activities (global warming, urbanisation and cutting roads etc).
  • Some natural hazards can have an advantageous effect such as river floods, they may be dangerous but also offer a water resource and a flood plain which enriches soil. It is the frequency and the limits to human management which will determine it becoming a disaster.
  • A hazard can be classified by its physical characteristics (avalanches, floods), geographical origin (volcanos), spatially (earthquakes at tectonic plate margins), biologically (disease spread by insects becoming an epidemic), and if it is an instant severe event (tornados), or gradual onset event (droughts).
  • Disasters can be a combination of natural hazards for example earthquakes causing a tsunami.
  • Generally, governments and agencies will take four steps to managing a disaster; mitigation (prevention and education), preparedness (planning how to respond), response (what needs to be done to save lives and help survivors) and recovery (getting back to normal living conditions).
  • A natural hazard can happen in any location in the world although some countries are more at risk than others from a disaster. “Alexander (1997) found 90 per cent of disaster related deaths occurred in developing countries while some 82 per cent of economic loses were suffered by developed countries” (Middleton, 2013, p 490).

(Middleton, 2013, p499)

  • Although human impact on the environment and the probability of natural hazards are in no doubt a cause of a disaster, when a country is plunged into crises it is characteristically politically led. It will depend on a government’s :
    • Political will.
    • Funding priority.
    • Preparation and action
    • Relationships between resource suppliers and aid organisations.
    • Discrimination against race, religion, poverty.
  • World Risk Index (WRI) ranks a countries probability of disaster by considering the combination of their natural hazard risk and their societies vulnerability.
  • The case studies of the Japan earthquake 2011 and the Haiti earthquake 2010 demonstrate powerfully the different vulnerabilities there can be between countries and how it contributes to a disaster.
    • 220,000 fatalities in Haiti compared to 28,000 fatalities in Japan even though the magnitude of the earthquake in Japan was 9.0 and 7.0 in Haiti.
    • Haiti had 1 million completely homeless (population of 10 million), Japan had 530,000 people displaced staying in evacuation centres, schools and public halls.
    • Haiti had 300,000 injured, Japan had 2,000.
    • Haiti endured 250,000 destroyed or significantly damaged buildings; 60% government buildings, 80% government buildings in the capital Pot-au-prince with the UN headquarters being destroyed. Japan sustained 4,700 houses destroyed and around 50,000 damaged.
    • Haiti needed huge international aid and an influx of non governmental organisations (NGO’s) independent non governmental organisations (INGO’s) providing search and rescue teams, medical teams and financial assistance. Japan only made specific requests for help such as search and rescue teams.
  • There are key international organisations who work between and within the government to support and prioritise humanitarian needs.
    • World food programme (WFP)
    • World health organisation (WHO)
  • NGO’s and INGO’s also work alongside the governments for example Save the Children Red cross, and Oxfam.
    • Provide unbiased approach.
    • Politically neutral.
    • Prepare communities e.g. Education, communication.
    • Provide relief and medical aid.
    • Build on government financial aid.
    • Are fair and effective towards communities.

As I reflect on the information, I have gathered about disasters their social and political effects on a society, I have realised the profound need as a teacher to educate children in this area of sustainability. It links nicely with climate change but will also inform a child of the problems of the wider world. I feel it could be a difficult topic to approach given the frightening details and severe outcomes but would serve as a stark reminder of the inequalities of different cultures and the value of an understanding of natural occurrences and human interference on them. It will allow children the chance to enhance their sense of empathy, how to make choices that will reflect on others and create an opportunity for political understanding and participation. Learning about disasters I can cover a wide range of curricular areas such as Science, Social studies, Literacy and some Health and Wellbeing areas. I would be able to engage pupils by using powerful images, media reports, setting up fundraising in school for present day crisis’s and by doing fun fact finding  activities and science experiments. I particularly enjoyed the science activities we carried out. Not only would children enjoy the interaction with the materials but would be making connections and learning facts without realising as well as developing investigative skills. The fruit tree and why, why, why chains were interesting and enjoyable too. I think this is a good way to break down the information and see the links between natural events, human activity, and politics very clearly.


Teaching resources

These websites offer some interesting activities for children.



Some interesting literature.



A film for younger children.

A film more suited to upper school.

Skills developed

So far within this module I have developed my knowledge most with this topic. I have realised especially with regards to the politics behind a crisis how little I understood and feel better informed and equipped to educate young minds on the subject. I have also discovered how several different ways of learning can enhance a learning experience and so have developed my knowledge skills in delivering information of a sensitive nature in a child friendly structure. Furthermore, I have significantly improved my skills in social justice. This means that I can more confidently teach about  difficult subjects such as global disasters knowing that I am secure in my values and practice and will be teaching good ethics for future generations.


Halocha, J. (2012) The Primary Teachers Guide to Geography Whitney: Scholastic

Middleton, N. (2013) The Global Casino (5th Edition) London Routledge pp 488-518

Satternaite D. (2011), Why is community action needed for disaster risk education and climate change adaptation? Institute of Development studies [online] Available: https://www.eldis.org/document/A59354 [Accessed: 2nd November 2019].

Nix-Stevenson D. (2013) Human Response to Natural Disasters SAGE Open. pp.1-12.












In the last two weeks we have been looking at interdependence. We studied this topic through research, a  study tasks and a visit to two local farms.


I have learned that the term interdependency means each living thing has a part to play in a system which should benefit and maintain a healthy environment for all. Unfortunately, each component can also provide a threat or negative impact to the fluidity of the system, in certain circumstances a disastrous result such as extinction and pollution and therefor affect the sustainability of our world.

There are 3 components of interdependence:

  • Economic – world trade, financial corporations and government policies
  • Social – human consumption, conservation and pollution
  • Environmental – depletion of resources, climate change and global repercussions and responsibility

Farm visits

In synthesis of the information I gathered from the farm visits I could see how the cycle of interdependence worked in different forms of farm management.

First farm

  • Organic dairy farm with 57 cows.
  • Grass and organically feed.
  • Lots of human interaction and bred naturally.
  • Use organic fertilizer and carry out regular soil testing.
  • The milk produced is gently and slowly pasteurised on the farm
  • Sold in recyclable glass bottles

Second farm

  • Mega dairy.
  • Large number of cows kept in huge byres
  • Air quality was controlled
  • Very little interaction with humans.
  • Electronic robots fed the cows
  • Cows were milked frequently
  • Bred by artificial insemination of selected female sperm.
  • Calves are separated from the mother.
  • Milk is homogenised and standardised
  • The milk transported in tankers
  • Processed in milk factories and sold to supermarkets.

By analysing everything I saw and learned from these visits I could see the potential benefits and problems to each farm and how these things contribute or fail their interdependency cycle.

The organic farm

  • Energy efficient, producing less CO2,
  • Recording soil quality
  • Recycling energy and materials
  • Produce high quality milk
  • Considerably less jobs available
  • More expensive milk.
  • Less money generated for the economy.

The large industrial farm

  • Produce more greenhouse gases
  • High amounts of non- organic manure
  • High energy and water use from process factories and transportation
  • Not using the land effectively
  • Poorer quality milk
  • Use of plastic milk bottles.
  • Low cost milk
  • Provides many more jobs
  • Trading with multinational corporations
  • Lucrative in generating money for the economy.

Like many things there are two sides to every story, I can see how both managements work but the question is which is more beneficial to the sustainability of our planet. The whole point to interdependency is for healthy sustainability of living and non living things. In the management of the second farm we are destroying our planet by producing more green house gases which cause more climate change which destroys habitats and diminishes resources which threatens lively hoods.  I felt I learned a huge amount in a short time and became more interested as we went along. As a teacher I can see how the outdoor learning would really engage the children with the outdoors and their learning of the concept of sustainability. They would be able to interact with their environment and appreciate where their food comes from and how it comes about. They would be able to understand the importance of the what, how and why by seeing it for themselves. I can imagine their fun of being up close to the cows, tramping through the mud experiencing the smells and sounds and their eye’s widening in interest on seeing the big machines (robots) and little calves. All of this will help the retention of the information they are learning and create memories of fun learning experiences. This is a similar scenario of learning we discovered in our exploration of sustainable seas by creating an infographic. If we continue to fish our seas the current way our fish population will be gone by 2050. Many cultures rely on fishing for diet and livelihood and the current climate change issues are destroying species and their resources. I found this activity a very good way to learn and remember the information I was finding. By being creative with layout and design and searching for information I was learning without realising and I think this would be an activity or something similar that would work very well in upper level school. The children can combine their creative thoughts with literacy, science and even modern study and allows them to work both collaboratively and alone.


Useful teaching resources









Skills developed

During this topic I have become more ethically minded about the choices I make and my part in interdependency. This will not only make me an effective contributor to sustainability but will enhance my role model status as a teacher. I will feel comfortable in the knowledge that I am supportive of the issues surrounding interdependency and can teach enthusiastically to the children whose future depend on it. I am much more driven to educating children in the importance of their knowledge of the topic so that they can be given the chance to make the correct choices to support their world. Having developed these skill’s, I am continuing my professional commitment to providing a varied learning environment for my learners, working towards building my teaching practice and the role model I want to be for my learners.



Charles Darwin Trust, Darwin Inspired Learning (n.d.). [online] Available: www.charlesdarwintrust.org/content/19/darwin-inspired-learning [accessed: 11 October 2019]

FAO. (2016) The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2016. Contributing to Food Security and Nutrition for All. [online] Available: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5555e.pdf [Accessed: 13 October 2019]

GTC Scotland.(2006) Driving Forward Professional Standards for Teachers, The Standards for Registration: mandatory requirements for Registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (2012) [online] Available: http://www.gtcs.org.uk/web/FILES/the-standards/standards-for-registration-1212.pdf [Accessed: 22 October 2019]

Mossgiel farm (n.d.). [online] Available:https://mossgielfarm.co.[Accessed: 12 October 2019]

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). (n.d.) Oceans at Risk. [online] Available: https://www.msc.org/healthy-oceans [Accessed: 18 October 2019]

World Wildlife Foundation (WWF). (n.d.) At Work for the Ocean. [online] Available: https://wwf.panda.org/our_work/oceans/solutions/ [Accessed: 18 October 2019] 


















Blog 1  25/9/19

Diversity – meaning individual differences

Biodiversity is the differences between and within the plant and animal kingdoms and how they interact for survival.  It is about all living things.

  • organisms are interrelated by the energy flow between them – food webs , ecosystems, natural habitats.
  • often the factors which affect plant growth and survival of animal species are the positive and negative impact of humans on the environment
  • the human benefits of plants are as a source of energy, for example fossil fuel, as food, for example rice or potato, as materials, such as wood and paper, and as a medicine or ingredient in medicine.
  • children are educated in conservation in order to become global citizens and continue the survival of our world

Much of my knowledge about plants and living things comes from my background in biological science and something I have been quite passionate about since secondary school. I was also aware of the importance of making sure I was correct in my knowledge. The research  I did prompted me to find good sources at primary level to help me look at it as to what is relevant and engaging at primary age level and used the CfE E’s and O’s to guide my research. This has extended my knowledge in how to begin a topic in class, how to progress and to what is needed for age and stage. I have listed some of the resources I used below.




Plants as living things

Human diversity is the differences between humans within our population and how they affect our cultural diversity.

  • population growth from immigration directly affects a nations diversity for example immigration of the Irish to Scotland in 1840’s
  • there are many elements to human diversity such as :
    • Race
    • Religion
    • sexuality
    • language spoken
    • place of birth
    • registered disabled
  • attitudes to differences can often discriminate and form social stereotype.
  • diversity between nations is variable and different countries have different levels of respect therefor in 1948 the united nations brought about a rights framework of 30 Articles – the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) to try to have a uniform effect on discrimination of human differences.
  • diversity of culture is derived from ideas, themes and values contributed by minority communities but there are often barriers to this including acceptance and ignorance.
  • children are taught in school about global development goals, to be responsible citizens, to understand that diversity is the norm and discrimination is not acceptable and how to challenge it.

Relevant Skills

Learning in this topic has developed my skills in being culturally aware. This is important as my classroom will be diverse with children from different cultural backgrounds and I need to be able to embrace and understand different cultures and their values and norms. I am achieving this already having friends and family around me who are a variety of religions, sexuality, and disablement. This has given me a real sense of citizenship and enriched my life experience, knowledge, and understanding of my world. I also feel I have developed my values for social justice which is important for my teaching practice and professionalism. I feel that this is important if I am to provide an inclusive learning environment  and play my part in educating children in what is fair and equal for all.

Useful Resources

This video will help explain living and non living things to younger children.

A quiz about food chains


A video to help explain why biodiversity is important.

A video raising awareness of diversity.

Books that can be read to infants to introduce the concept of human diversity and its acceptance.


Over the last two weeks I have came to realise not only the importance of teaching children about diversity as a science subject but the relevance of their cultural understanding to sustainability for future generations. I have to be honest and say I did not realise the depth of meaning it has for social and well being education. It has also allowed me to assess my own citizenship and see that I can improve my knowledge in order to benefit the children I will teach. Together biodiversity and human diversity provide our world with sustainability. “Respect for biodiversity implies respect for human diversity. Both elements are fundamental to stability and durable peace on earth” (UNESCO, 2003 p7.).


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