Severe Weather Patterns Unit
Severe Weather Action Plan
- Grade level: Upper elementary and middle school.
- Subject Area: Science, Language Arts
If the school has an existing severe weather action plan, students obtain and review
copies of this plan and discuss how the plan can be used in an actual severe weather
emergency. If no such plan exists, students develop, write, edit, and present an
action plan (based on their research) and deliver it to the school principal.
- Formulate what items should be in their school severe weather action plan.
- Determine if their school already has a severe weather action plan.
- If a severe weather action plan (or emergency plan) exists, review it based on the items identified and evaluate how useful it is.
- If no such action plan exists for the school, students can be organized into group to develop a plan.
- Present the findings and the new/modified action plan to the principal.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some
assumptions about the hardware
and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the
LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or
activities have a computer
(PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and
monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or
software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but
Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special"
requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above)
and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
Special hardware requirements: none.
Special software requirements: none.
Internet access: none.
- In a whole-class setting, based on the severe weather pattern research the students have done, discuss what items should be in their school severe weather action plan. Ask them to:
- List which severe weather patterns are most likely to occur in their community.
- Consider what steps might be taken to prepare for a severe weather pattern.
- Think about where students would go and how they would be protected from danger.
- Reflect on how the school would be notified in the event of a severe weather pattern.
- Have a group of students determine if their school already has a severe weather action plan. These students might go as a group to the school principal or school board and ask for this plan.
- If a severe weather action plan (or emergency plan) already exists for the school, review it as a group focusing on the items identified above and evaluate how helpful it would be in an actual emergency. Talk about how students might prepare for these kinds of emergencies, how frightened younger children might be, and how teachers would be expected to know the whereabouts of every student in their classroom.
- If no severe weather action plan exists for the school, organize students into groups to develop a plan. Start by suggesting major items to be included in the plan, such as probable severe weather patterns for the local area, how students and teachers in the school would be notified, what actions would be taken in each classroom, where students would go, and how parents would be informed. Each group can be responsible for writing and editing some part of the action plan, and any resources collected during prior research steps can be included in the plan, perhaps as background materials.
- Present the findings and the new/modified action plan to the principal, and discuss the value of having such a plan within the school.
- Consider having copies of the plan made for each teacher in the school and presenting the results to interested groups (e.g., police, fire departments, etc.) in a severe weather awareness day.
- Encourage students to talk with their friends and relatives about any severe weather pattern experiences they've had, and the impact of those experiences on their lives. Anyone who has lived through a tornado, hurricane, or flood can help students appreciate the power and potential devastation of these severe weather patterns on our everyday lives.
- A good place to start learning about how to prepare for a severe weather pattern is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
FEMA has information on preparations for all kinds of natural disasters, including floods and flash floods, hurricanes, landslides and mud flows, tornadoes, winter storms and thunderstorms and lightning. You can order printed versions of the on-line documents on emergency preparedness for specific natural disasters.
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