Natural Disasters


The definition of a natural disaster is “any catastrophic event that is caused by nature or the natural process of the earth.” There are many different categories of natural disasters such as:

  • geophysical, which relates to earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and volcanic activity
  • hydrological disasters, which are avalanches and floods
  • climatological disasters, which are extreme temperatures, drought and wildfires.
  • biological disasters, which covers, disease epidemics and animal plagues

Natural disasters can be a very scary, sensitive topic to teach primary children. However, it is very important that children are aware of how to prepare, respond and recover from natural disasters. Also, I think it is equally as important that children have an awareness of what people living in other countries have to deal with day to day.

During Louise’s workshop on Political and Economic considerations of natural disasters, we had the chance to look at some real-life examples. In groups, we were all given an image of a disaster and asked to consider it’s affects. As you can see in the picture below, we had A3 paper and had to lay it out in a specific format with N standing for Nature, E for Economic, S was for Society and finally W was Who decides. We then had to come up with questions for each section, I found this process quite helpful in making us consider natural disasters in a wider context. For example, it made us consider how disasters affect rich and poor people completely differently. For some people, their home may be all they have and quite often during disasters homes are destroyed. Therefore, some people are left with nothing. This then led us on to discuss who decides what help the area gets? We looked at the affects Hurricane Matthew had on Haiti and Florida and the differences between the ways their governments reacted.  For example, Florida was able to do a press and announce on social media to warm everyone in the area, however, we have to consider that some countries don’t have the resources etc. to carry out announcements. This workshop required me to think critically, which links with the UWS Graduate Attributes, I had to consider all the areas that could possibly be affected by natural disasters. Considering the Brookfield, S (1995) Model of Reflection, after completing this topic on natural disasters, I now feel a lot more confident. Prior to this, the thought of teaching disasters would have given me so much anxiety. However, now I realise that it can actually be informative while still being enjoyable so that my future pupils will gain a lot from my lesson. Not only on knowledge, but also awareness and how important it is that we help other countries.

BBC News Clip 1                                BBC News Clip 2

Moving on to Andrew’s science workshop, we started off by considering investigation skills. Investigation skills in science allow pupils to, find out from practical experience, express their ideas and then test their ideas and develop scientific literacy. Therefore, it is important that pupils are able to ask questions, observe, report and evaluate their science experiments. During this workshop, I realised the importance of science to children’s development and also how much it impacts their learning in other curricular areas. “Through science, children and young people can develop their interest in and understanding of the living, material and physical word.” (Curriculum for Excellence) Science skills help our pupils to be open to new ideas and linking and applying learning, thinking creatively and critically and also science helps them develop skills of reasoning to provide explanations and evaluations supported by evidence. All these skills are things that can be transferred to other areas of the curriculum to help children across other areas.

For our second week studying natural disasters, we completed a 15-minute micro-teaching lesson. My group were focusing on earthquakes, which we found quite challenging to simplify for children. The discussion about tectonic plates and the layers of the earth can sometimes come across very complex and intense. So, we decided that a video with animations would show earthquakes better than we could explain. (Link below) We also included a few possible activities we could complete in the class and explanations of the experiences and outcomes our lessons would cover. Personally, I actually really enjoyed this experience and found it very useful, I liked having the opportunity to link what we had previously learned with actually being teachers. I previously thought that natural disasters would be something quite difficult to teach, however, after this experience, I have realised that if their broken down its so much easier to understand as a teacher and for pupils. Two of the experiences and outcomes I would use for a lesson on natural disasters are:

“I can describe the physical processes of a natural disaster and discuss its impact on people and the landscape” SOC 2-07b

“I consider the impact that layout and presentation will have and can combine lettering, graphics and other features to engage my reader” LIT 2-24a

The first one would be suitable for all natural disasters lessons and the second would be suitable if the class were creating posters, fact files or leaflets on natural disasters.


Natural Disasters

Smith, A. and Quiroz Flores, A. (2010) Disaster Politics. Foreign Affairs. [Online] Available: Council of Foreign Affairs[Accessed: 31 Oct. 2019] (2019) Curriculum for Excellence: Sciences. [online] Available:[Accessed 31 Oct. 2019].

University of the West of Scotland (2018) UWS Graduate Attributes [Online] Available:[Accessed: 31 Oct. 2019].

Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. San-Francisco: Jossey-Bass



Interdependence is the way in which two or more living things depend on each other to grow and remain healthy. It splits off into three areas which are economic interdependence, social interdependence and environmental interdependence. Economic interdependence is all about the global trading market and multinational/global financial institutions. Social on the other hand is about media advertising and the worldwide demand for market access. Then finally, the one we looked into, environmental interdependence, which is the increasingly apparent idea that every species has a function to fulfil in sustaining the web of life.I have included the link to a video below, I think this would be great to use when teaching interdependence to a class. It clearly outlines the importance of interdependence in a way that children will be able to relate to and understand.

We were lucky enough to be welcomed at two local farms. Both VERY different form each other, however, both with very important roles. The first we visited was called Mossgiel Farm, which is a small organic farm near Mauchline. From the moment, I stepped out the car and looked around myself I felt welcome on the farm. It was muddy and cold and we were surrounded by sheds, but it almost felt like everyone around us was happy that we were there and excited to show us how their farm worked. We started off by getting a brief introduction from the farm owner Bryce, he explained all about his family’s background with the farm and how he’s developed the farm to how it is today. He explained all about being an organic farm and how it benefits the cows being grass fed and allowed out into the fields. He explained how every area is connected and how they depend on each other, the cow eats the grass and produces milk which is then bottled and sold to consumers. Without the consumers, the milk would be spoiled and if cows aren’t milked regularly they can develop infections. Likewise, without the cows, consumers wouldn’t have access to milk which gives them a vital mineral (calcium). I really enjoyed the couple of hours I got to spend on Mossgiel farm and I’ve walked away with a love for calves (pictures below) that I didn’t think was possible!



However, we then went over to Strandhead Farm which is a large technologically advanced farm near Tarbolton. As soon as we entered the farm, it felt completely different to the previous one. This was a very big farm where everything was done through technology. There were automatic feeding machines, robot cleaners and the cows all had necklaces that monitored every movement they made. The farmer explained that the cows had to be kept inside at all times to ensure they were eating enough food in order to be milked up to 5 times a day. Personally, I didn’t like the idea of the cows never being allowed out. The farmer did explain that they have everything they need in the shed, however, I just couldn’t understand how it was fair on the cows.


After my experience at both the farms, I had a look at the UWS Graduate Attributes and realised that I left the farms with a lot of experience and knowledge that I didn’t have before. On a universal and academic level, I developed my ability to inquire on something I have little knowledge on. I asked the farmers questions and got an insight into how their farms work. Also, on a universal and personal level, I became more culturally aware. I developed a knowledge for where my food comes from that I will never forget.

Looking to the future, I think this experience would be great for my pupils. It would give them an experience that they would never forget, they would gain knowledge from the farmers that they wouldn’t have access to anywhere else. The Experiences and Outcomes that I would cover through this are:

SCN 1-02a

“I can explore examples of food chains and show an appreciation of how animals and plants depend on each other for food.”
SCN 0-01a

“I have observed living things in the environment over time and am becoming aware of how they depend on each other.”

I’m looking forward to being able to share my experience on the farm with pupils in my class in the future. I now understand how important it is that we know where our food comes from!


Higgins, K (2013) Economic Growth and Sustainability – are they mutually exclusive? [online] Available:[Accessed 13 Oct. 2019]. (2019) Curriculum for Excellence: Sciences. [online] Available:[Accessed 13 Oct. 2019].

University of the West of Scotland (2018) UWS Graduate Attributes [Online] Available:[Accessed: 13 Oct. 2019].



Climate Change


Our climate change lecture began with some general facts and an outline of what climate change actually is. Prior to this lecture, I had limited knowledge on climate change, all I really knew is that it related to the weather. However, I soon learned that the term ‘climate change’ covers more than just our recent weather. Climate is the average weather at a given point and time of year, over a long period we expect the weather to change a lot day to day but the climate to remain consistent. Our climate system is important as it determines our weather, decisions by humans have long term affects on our climate. A young girl, Greta Thurnberg, outlines humans impact on climate change, in a way I couldn’t compete with.

This weeks science workshop looked at our inquiry and investigative skills. We started off by completing a task about a plane crash on an island, firstly we were all given an area, ours was the savannah grass lands. We were then required to investigate the area and complete a few tasks about what items we think would be important to have. This required us to negotiate with our team members, listen to eachother and express our personal ideas. I personally really enjoyed this task, I think it would work well within the classroom as an icebreaker sort of task. It required me to step out my comfort zone a little when having to express my opinion and have others challenge it.

We then went on to complete some climate change related experiments. The experiment you can see in the video below was to show that heat rises. We had a bucket of room temperature water, two plastic cups, one of which was full of very warm water and the other ice cold water. We then put a couple of drops of red food colouring in the warm cup, and blue food colouring in the cold cup. To carry out the actual experiment, we had to drop the two plastic cups into the water and watch closely. As you can see in the video, the warm water all rises to the top and the cold water spreads along the bottom. We also completed a few other experiments, to show rain and tornados etc.

I really enjoyed the use of these experiments to further develop our understanding of climate change. Using the Curriculum for Excellence I think the experience and outcome that would best suit this would be “I can explain some of the processes which contribute to climate change and discuss the possible impact of atmospheric change on the survival of living things. SCN 3-05b” I think that these experiments would be great for third level pupils to put into practice what they have learned over the course of their climate change topic. As a student, one thing that I learned and will take away from this workshop, is that experiments don’t always go to plan. However, pupils can still learn from them.

Our second workshop went on to look at the link between climate change and global warming. Prior to this workshop, I would have said that climate change and global warming are almost the same thing. Global warming is when, greenhouse gasses travel into the earths atmosphere, where they are trapped causing the earth to heat up. This is known as the greenhouse effect and the rising temperature of the earth as a result of this, is known as global warming.

Reflecting on my knowledge now compared to before this input, I feel so much more aware of my actions and the affects they are having on not only humans, but animals and plants aswell. I completed the WWF Footprint Calculator which was an extreme eye opener! Going about my day to day life I quite often forget how small actions such as leaving the TV on standby are having a massive affect on the world around me. I think this resource would be great to use in the classroom, we could all as a class, come up with ways to reduce our carbon footprint.

References: (2019). Curriculum for Excellence: Sciences. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Sept. 2019].