Disasters Blog

This topic has been my favourite topic so far. In the lecture we had first we learnt about what disasters actually are and watched a few videos to highlight them. The first workshop we had today was in the science lab. We got the opportunity to try many different experiments of science to highlight the natural disasters such as volcanos and many more. The first experiment was creating a chemical reaction to show how a volcano is formed. We used baking soda and vinegar. This involved pouring vinegar into a container with baking soda where after this, we then saw the reaction of when the soda and acid met. The result looked like an erupting volcano as shown below, which was taken from the workshop. 


The second experiment was we had the opportunity to use a hammer and try break down rocks into smaller parts. It was extremely difficult which shows the impact rocks have when an earthquake strikes. In this workshop we also watched a few videos of the deadliest volcanic eruptions in history and a few tsunami videos that have happened around the world. It was extremely fascinating but very shocking to see the negative impacts they have had on the world today.

In the second workshop we explained more about the political nature of disasters and talked about the governments actions relating to disaster response and rebuilding. I at first found this quite boring but as we got into the explanations and watched a few videos I was more and more interested by the end of the workshop. We completed tasks such as being in groups where we were given an image for example a home that had been wrecked by a disaster. We had to figure out what kind of disaster had struck for this image to look the way it did. It was stated by the Red Cross Foundation, (2019) that a disaster is a sudden event that seriously disrupts a community and causes human material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s ability to cope using it’s own resources. Though often caused by nature,disasters can have human origins. We also got the opportunity to look at a case study each. My case study was the Japan earthquake the occurred 11th March 2011. As I read through the case study I found it very heartbreaking imagining the aftermath for all the people who lost lives and lost their loved ones. After reading the case study our task was to this of the actions taken by the government and reflect on what it tells us about the governments priorities such as funding, resources and much more. In this workshop we also found out that Halacha, (2012) clearly stated that “ Disasters take children beyond their immediate surroundings and into the wider world”. I found this extremely effective as a student teacher as allowed me to reflect on how we as future teachers are meant to teach about Disasters and this quote effectively contributes to the effect disasters have on children and their comfort zone. The final task we completed in this workshop was to draw a fruit tree where we wrote the issue such as Global Poverty Gap. We then wrote in the roots of the tree the causes of this issue and finally in the branches we wrote the effects and symptoms of this issue. See below for our groups fruit tree. 

We also discussed in groups about the response by the government and many organisations to disasters happening. We believed that the government can prepare communities for disasters like these by taking hazard assessments and community procedures such as evacuation. Also they can respond quickly after a disaster by Healthcare support, search and rescue and providing clean food and sanitation. We looked at a report/video regarding to Hurricane Katrina where we watched how the government helped this community after this extremely horrific disaster. One fact I was shocked at was with The Road Home organisation which was formed after this disaster. It was seen that 105, 375 people applied for money and only 576 people received this money. I was extremely shocked as it is shown in the video that this organisation was given more money but this still did not help the people who were in need of money support. 

In the second week of Disasters, we were in groups of 6/7 where we were to do a presentation on a disaster given to us. My group were given volcanoes and so we completed a presentation on volcanoes including information about what a volcano actually is, how a volcano occurs, how we would teach this topic to a class of pupils and much more. As a student teacher I found this extremely effective as highlighted that I would be able to confidently teach this topic using a variety of resources. Each group then presented their presentation to the rest of the class to allow them to gain more knowledge on each topic of Disasters and this allowed us to have an insight to what it would be like teaching this topic to a class of pupils. Through my research and the use of the tasks completed in the workshops I was able to see the tasks pupils could complete to help support their learning of this topic.

Overall, I am extremely confident in this topic and I have a clear understanding now of different Disasters that have occurred in the world today. I am also much more aware of the aftermath of these Disasters and how different organisations help communities to re-build their lives again. I found this topic the most engaging as I felt I was constantly learning new things which made me a lot more focused. I also believe that the use of many youtube videos as seen in lectures and workshops, also kept me engaged which is a useful way when teaching to young children. As mentioned before, I feel a lot more comfortable in being able to teach this topic the most effective and understanding way for young children. I look forward to using  my knowledge of Disasters in the classroom environment.


Interdependence Blog


Interdependence is the idea of two or more living things depending on each other to grow and staying healthy(Cambridge Dictonary, 2019). There are three components of Interdependence: Economic Interdependence including global market and trading and World Bank, Social Interdependence including Media and Advertising, Environmental Interdependence including Weather and Global repercussions and responsibility(Pahelke, 2009). Today we got the opportunity to visit two farms near the university where we were able to take notes about what we found out by visiting these two farms. The first farm we visited was called West Mossgiel Farm which was small and organic. The second farm we visited was called Strandhead Farm which was a large and technologically advanced farm. Both farms had various different facts which made the visit so interesting as really understood the difference between these two dairy farms. Before going to these farms today, I believed every dairy farm was the same and produce the same milk the same way.

Strandhead Farm was an organic farm which I found really interesting. I found out much about the number of cows at this farm, facts about these certain cows, how the best milk is made from the cows and much more. I found out that the more volume of cows on the farm the more volume of milk that is provided. Also, I found out that to have so many cows and so much milk, the cows need to be fed really well and be in a comfortable and safe place on the farm. The most interesting fact I found out which before I had no idea, was that cows need to not be stressed to be able to make enough milk which then leads to better quality of milk overall. I was very surprised at this as never thought about cows being stressed would affect them and the milk they produce. When I visited this farm the cows were closed in a big shelter, they were not in fields. I was very confused as I thought this was very cruel to keep and animal loved in when they should be free outside and I believed cows had to be on the fields to be able to get all the healthy ingredients to make the high quality milk. However when I asked the farmer nearby, I was told that for 4/5 months of the year cows eat grass outside however in the other months there would not be enough grass which then meant the cows had to be stayed inside all the time to allow the grass to grow and be available all the time. Also then the farmer explained that the cows were not being forced away from the air outside, that the shed is built in a way that the cows still have fresh air which then made me believe that this was not as cruel as I thought. 

West Mossgiel Farm is another dairy farm which produces organic milk. This farm was very different in my opinion. When we got to the farm we had to clean our feet and at the end of our visit. There are people who educate others called RET. They do risk assessments for every visit on behalf of the teachers and they also work with SEN kids adapt for their needs for example fidget spinners etc. I found it really interesting that this farm was set up by Robert Burns 250 years ago. The farm started off with 28 cows and grew to 150, however, after a dairy collapse they had to sell some cows to get money for the bank. They ended up with only 30 cows. Due to having such little money and little number of cows they ended up buying a yoghurt maker to try make more money. We learnt a lot more on this farm about what each part of was used for. I found out that only 10% of the land is grass and the rest of the land is used for cereal products for high energy. I did not understand why they needed so much land for cereal products however then we found out that without cereals in diet at this farm, they would lose roughly 50% of milk which would be very negative for the farms income. My grandpa who lives in Ireland who has a few cows, don’t have horns left on them. I was shocked to see that at this farm ,the cows horns are left on the cows. I was told that not many farms do this which is why the farm is very unique. This is because years and years ago, cows with horns left would hit farms when they would be cooped up. The most interesting fact I was surprised about at Mossgiel Farm was that dairy cows and calves are not separated at birth from their mothers for 4/5 month as their mothers food prepares them well at the beginning. Also that cows are only called calves for 22-26 months and them they are labeled as adults/cows. I was very shocked at this as personally I believe that the age of 22/26 months is very young still for cows to be able to breed.

Overall, Ayrshire cattle make high quality milk but however do not make the same amount as other cows. This allowed me to understand why we visited these two farms. I was able to see the importance of dairy farms for sustainability today. It is clearly seen that cow welfare affects sustainable dairy farming. Also before today, I did not fully understand what interdependence really was but after today not only do I understand the meaning more thorough but I feel more comfortable to be able to teach this topic to a class of pupils. I also believe taking the pupils to a farm when teaching this topic is a fantastic idea as not only do they get to see the various factors of interdependence from their own perspective but also gets pupils outside the school environment for a while. This reinforces the outdoor learning and after this visit this reinforced how important outdoor learning really is both physically and mentally: developing confidence, self-esteem and developing collaborative- working. 


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