Thursday, August 1, 2013

Teaching Children About Natural Disasters: Be Prepared

Teaching Children About Natural Disasters:  Be Prepared
Image Credit:  Comfreak - CCO Public Domain Image via Pixabay

Teaching Children About Natural Disasters:  Be Prepared

It is important to teach children to be prepared.

Ready.Gov/Kids offers families and teachers great resources and ways to involve children in preparedness efforts.  Ready.Gov/Kids is sponsored by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).  Children who access the site gain access to a simple four step plan to help their families prepare for natural disasters.

Step 1:  Know the Facts

Children learn about various types of natural disasters. They learn about hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, terrorism, floods and earthquakes.

Step 2:  Make a Plan

Children gain access to games and activities which help them and their families develop an emergency plan together. Families can print out forms where they can enter important information which will help authorities reunite them and give aid to them if needed. The form gives families a place to enter personal and sensitive information such as social security numbers so teach children how to protect such information and prevent identity theft.

Step 3:  Build a Kit

Children and families can play games and participate in activities which educate them about emergency supplies and how to put together a kit which will help them get through natural disaster events.

Step 4:  Graduate from Readiness U

Children must prove what they learned in steps 1 through 3. They must complete an online quiz. Once all the answers are answered correctly, they can print out a Readiness U Graduation Certificate.

Involving children in emergency planning helps them feel much more knowledgeable about natural disasters. When children feel more knowledgeable, they feel more prepared and ready to face potentially disastrous situations.

Teaching Children About Natural Disasters: Online Media Resources

Teaching Children About Natural Disasters: Online Media Resources
Image Credit:  Comfreak - CCO Public Domain Image via Pixabay

Teaching Children About Natural Disasters:  Online Resources

Parents and teachers can find lots resources on the internet to help them teach children about natural disasters.

Kid Scoop is one of those great resources. If you would like to teach your children about tsunamis, Kid Scoop offers great resources centered about the tsunami which hit Japan in 2011. Some of those resources include newspaper type downloads which feature news stories about the tsunami along with activities for children such as word searches and crossword puzzles. The downloads can be printed in color or in black and white so the children can color the pages themselves. Children will also learn about various agencies who help victims of disasters and they learn a few facts about measuring earthquakes, how tsunamis form and a few facts about the county of Japan. is another great resource. offers free PowerPoint presentations on various natural disaster topics such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and about eighteen others. Children will find links to online games and FLASH presentations. Parents and teachers will find additional links to lesson plan ideas, video clips, mini-movies, free games and clip-art.

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence offers links to a wealth of information about various types of natural disasters. Parents and teachers will find links to information about the following topics:

The Earthquake Hazards Program
Geologic Information Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire, 1897 – 1916
The 1906 San Francisco Quake
Geology at the US Geological Survey
Disasters Teaching History
Tsunamis and Earthquakes Run For Your Lives!
The Johnstown Flood of 1889
Nature’s Fury
Emergency Planning for Schools

Teachers and Home-School Parents who utilize ReadWriteThink will find complete lesson plans. Teachers can click on tabs which take them to the next step in planning their lessons. For example, for their lesson on Exploring Cause and Effect Using Expository Texts About Natural Disasters, teachers will notice the fist tab offers a lesson preview. Teachers will find related standards under the second tab. The third tab offers a list of resources and steps for preparation. The next two tabs offers the instructional plan and related resources while the last tab provides users with a place for comments.

NeoK12 is a place where parents and teachers can access short video about various natural disasters. They also have access to photographs and school presentations and online games and puzzles. National Geographic offers a lesson plan titled The Three Little Pigs in Earthquake Land. The lesson is geared toward K-2 students. Teachers will find a lesson overview, connections to the curriculum, connections to the national geography standards, time frame, list of needed materials, objectives, geographic skills, and a suggested procedure for implementing the lesson. National Geographic offers other lessons on natural disasters geared toward various grade levels. Dealing with Disasters is geared toward grades 6-8 and follows the same suggested lesson format as the Three Little Pigs lesson.

TeacherVision gives teachers and parents access to a huge selection of links to aid in teaching kids about natural disasters. The links are divided into several different categories such as white board compatible mini-lessons, hurricane resources, lesson plans, resources for volcanoes, tsunami resources, and several more. The TeacherVision breaks the links down into about 14 categories for a total of approximately 85 links.

Teaching children about natural disasters can be fun, but it can also be a sensitive issue for some children, especially if they have personally suffered through a natural disaster. Hopefully, the above resources will give parents and teachers the help they need while teaching children about such horrible realities.

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