Natural Disasters

Mrs. Kristin Straumann

Room C114
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Class Description:

        In this class, we will take a close look at 9 different natural disasters that occur in our world.  For each disaster, we will try to answer questions like:

                    What is it?

                    How does the disaster happen?

                    What causes the disasterous event?

                    How does the event impact the world?

                    What safety issues are connected to the event?

                    What are some historic examples of this kind of disaster?

                    Why is the even classified as a “disaster”?

In our attempts to answer these, among other questions, class will involve lectures, research, activities, videos, demonstrations, and computer-based work.


Class Guidelines:

        In addition to the guidelines explained in your student handbook, the following items apply in this room:

        Be Respectful

        Be Responsible

        Be prepared for class EVERY DAY!!!

        No food or beverage in class

These are fairly simple guidelines, but will make life much easier within these four walls if they are followed by everyone.


Class Materials:

        You will be expected to have the following items with you every day:

                    1 ” Binder                                               

                    10 dividers (2, 5-tab sets)                     

                    pen or pencil

                    3 floppy disk

                    loose leaf paper or a clean-edge notebook




Grading Policy:

        Your grade for the class will be based on the following items:

                    Binder:                    40%            

                    Concept Maps:          10%

                    Posters:                    20%

                    Homework:                10%

                    Final Project:            20%

          Grades will be given according to the following scale:

                    A          100-95%

                    A-          94-93%

                    B+          92-90%

                    B            89-88%

                    B-          87-85%

                    C+          84-82%

                    C            81-79%

                    C-          78-76%

                    D+          75-74%

                    D            73-72%

                    D-          71-70%

                    F                 69% and below

          Grades will be posted on the school website, as well as in the classroom.


          Late work will not be accepted, except in the case of an excused absence, in which case you will have 2 days to complete make-up work for every day absent.  If you will be absent for a school activity, it is your responsibility to check with me AHEAD of time to see what you will miss, and complete the assigned work on time.


Assignment Descriptions:

        There are several assignments that will be on going throughout the entire semester.  Descriptions of the assignments and due dates are listed below.


1.  Binder                40% of final grade

For each unit we study, you will create a section in your binder to show what you have learned.  Each section will include:

o       Title Page

o       Abstract- an introductory paragraph that explains what the disaster is, how it happens, and why it is a disaster.  This is NO MORE than a page.

o       Notes from class- handwritten or typed, but must be neat

o       Vocab sheet- at the start of each unit, I will give you a list of vocab words to define.

o       Resources- at least 2 nonfiction books, documented in MLA format, with a brief description, and at least 3 credible websites, full URL, and description

o       List of historic events- list place, date, and a 1 sentence description.  For each item on the list, an article about the event must be included.  The specific number of events required for each unit will be given to you at the start of the unit.

o       Map of historic events- on a blank world map, label the events from you historic list with the location name and the date.

o       Images of the disaster- include 3 images with captions

o       Concept Map- both diagram and outline view need to be included.  This part is described more below.

Each unit will be graded using a rubric.  The final grade for the binder will be an average of all 9 sections.  Your binder must also include a cover page, table of contents, and labeled dividers.  These items will be included on the rubric for unit 9. 


2. Concept maps         10% of final grade

For each unit, you will create a concept map to show what you have learned about the topic.  This will be done on the computer using a program titled Inspiration .  Concepts maps are due the first day of the next unit.  Both the diagram and outline view of the concept map must be turned in.  After your map has been graded, both parts need to be put in your binder.


3. Posters                20% of final grade

Over the course of the semester, you will create 3 posters, each about 1 disaster from the groups below.  Posters need to include: an image of the disaster, a description of the disaster, how/why it happens, effects of the disaster, historic events, and any other interesting information you discovered in your research.  Since a poster is a visual presentation of what you learned, overall appearance and neatness will be a factor in your grade.


Poster 1- volcano, earthquake, or landslide Due Date: Oct. 16

Poster 2- hurricane, flood, or tsunami Due Date: Nov. 27

Poster 3- wildfire, tornado, or disease   Due Date: Jan. 16



4. Final Project        20% of final grade

To finish off the class, you will create a final project where you will compare and contrast 2 of the disasters we studied.  You will present your project to the rest of the class at the end of the semester.  Possible project ideas are:

o       Write a paper

o       Create a power point

o       Make a poster

o       Prepare a speech with visuals

o       Make a video

o       Write a story

o       Put on a play

o       Make a mobile

Any other ideas for final projects need to be approved before you begin working on it.  As long as the project shows the similarities and differences of the chosen disasters, I am pretty open to ideas.