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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

Naturally Disastrous!

Project URL:

How it works:
Naturally Disastrous is a WebQuest devoted to causes of natural disasters and how to survive one. Given that the world climate has changed due to recent disasters, this program addresses some student concerns about how these disasters happen, what to do if one occurs, and what preventive measures to take. The students research these topics on the Internet and create an informational brochure in cooperative groups, as well as a presentation that can be put into Web site, PowerPoint, or display board format. This project helps to ease fears and erase myths while providing valuable knowledge and skills.

Standards addressed:  
Students use general skills and strategies of the research, writing, and editing process; compile information into written reports or summaries; learn to ask "why" questions to seek greater understanding concerning objects and events they have observed and heard about; describe the effects of environmental changes on humans and other populations; know the characteristics and uses of computer software programs, word processors, and desktop publishing software; and import, export, and merge data stored in different formats.

Materials used:
Required materials include computers with Internet connection and MS Word or Publisher and MS PowerPoint software. If the display board format is used, then board, markers, glue stick, scissors, and construction paper are needed. If the final product is a PowerPoint presentation, a projector and a screen are needed.

The students:
Students should have moderate experience with Word or Publisher software and need to be able to copy, cut, and paste information and pictures from the Internet into MS Word, Publisher, and/or Web editor. Cooperative groups of three must be heterogeneous, and each group should contain someone with leadership and/or good organizational abilities.

Overall value:
Through this project, students learn to use online resources and learn how to prepare themselves and their families in the case of an emergency. Students feel they are doing something positive by showing people ways they can help those affected. Given the volatility in the world's ecology, this unit is not only educational but practical as well.

Teachers should spend some time showing students how to make a correct citation. The following link is a good place to start: http://oslis.k12.or.us/elementary/

About the teacher:
Anthony Salcedo is laptop coordinator at the Mott Hall School, the first inner city public school to start a laptop program. He was a keynote speaker at the Microsoft Laptop Summit 2000 in Seattle, Washington, and has presented at numerous technology conferences around the country. He has received recognition from three superintendents for his achievements, is a certified NFTE instructor, and has worked as a translator in the Caribbean for the United Nations. He was an adjunct instructor for NYU and Mercy College and is in his 13th year of teaching in the New York City public school system.


Subject Areas: 
Language Arts

Grade Levels: 


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