Project: Natural Disasters - Science Project

Teacher: Anna Mills
School: Trail Ridge Middle School
Location: Longmont, Colorado USA
Start Date: 09/08/2014
End Date: 05/10/2015
Project Plan
Unique Requests of
Participating Mentors:

This is a straight forward middle school science project with a focus on addressing real issues related to natural disasters that have taken place. The frequency of natural disasters and odd weather over the last 15 years have increased dramatically. Why? Tornadoes in Metro Denver in May? This will be a very exciting project! We'll also be using ArcGIS.com to build GIS skills and leverage layered mapping. Mentors will enjoy learning alongside students how to leverage this technology. It is very, very powerful and fun to use!

Description:

Trail Ridge is an exceptional middle school in Longmont, Colorado. This school is a magnet STEM school, which means there is a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. As such, we strive to prepare our students for the workforce and to provide them with hands-on, interactive opportunities to tackle real-world problems, even ones that may not exist yet. As educators, we need to be at the forefront of progressive education. We will teach our children to be exemplary critical thinkers, specifically in the way that they analyze problems in the abstract, in order to best come up with solutions. It is vital to give them the best opportunities in their future whether it be in academia, the world, or the societies that they choose to be a part of. The plan for the telementoring program encompasses substantial investigation of a natural disaster of their choice. They need to look at the effects and the recovery efforts. Students will research the natural disaster effects, redesign for the future and draw parallels to urban/rural development and growth. They can go outside of the last list as well. I want the students to think outside the box. This project will involve upwards of 30 students. - Students will research the current issues of a natural disaster, more specifically they will determine their area of interest to focus their research and create a public service announcement. The adolescents will look at the real world problems of the natural disaster of their choice and explore their own interests within the recovery process and other processes. -Most of the research will be done at school and partially at home. –Students will contact community members or figures that have knowledge of their natural disaster. - It is important to find mentors who are interested in natural disaster issues of the world. -The students will communicate with mentors about the real world issues of the natural disaster they chose. - The students will create a project at the end of their research to inform the public on the current issues of the natural disaster they chose. For example, a public service announcement, an imovie, a public meeting night at TRMS, a school assembly, brochures that will be posted around the community, and much more.

Benchmarks:

Colorado State Standards From Science Standards: 3.2 - Earth has a variety of climates defined by average temperature, precipitation, humidity, air pressure, and wind that have changed over time in a particular location 3.3 - Earth's natural resources provide the foundation for human society's physical needs. Many natural resources are nonrenewable on human timescales, while others can be renewed or recycled. 3.3a - Research and evaluate data and information to learn about the types and availability of various natural resources, and use this knowledge to make evidence- based decisions 3.3c - Use direct and indirect evidence to determine the types of resources and their applications used in communities Geography Standards: 6th Grade 2.2.c Give examples of how people have adapted to their physical environment. Earth Science Standard 3: 1. Complex interrelationships exist between Earth's structure and natural processes that over time are both constructive and destructive. 2. Water on Earth is distributed and circulated through oceans glaciers, rivers, ground water, and the atmosphere Human activities can deliberately or inadvertently alter ecosystems and their resiliency (2.1) Science & Technology 6th Grade Outcome: 2. Examine how choices regarding the use of technology are influenced by constraints caused by various unavoidable factors (e.g., geographic location, limited resources, social, political and economic considerations). 3. Create a solution to a problem given more than two constraints (e.g. limits of cost and time for design and production, supply of materials and environmental effects). 4. Evaluate the overall effectiveness of a product design or solution.

Duration:

30

Grade Level:

6

Content Area:

Science, English, Math

Student Outcomes:

Students will research the current issues related to weather and water, develop proposals to tackle issues that professionals are wrestling with, implement and share the results. Real Students, Real Science, Real Results!

Evaluation of
Student Outcomes:

The student’s final goal will be to inform the public about natural disasters around the world and possible solutions, using a creative approach. I will assess the students by the amount of information they have acquired, the ideas they’ve developed throughout this project, and their ability to critically define and solve problems.

Teacher Role:

Teacher will aid students on developing their interests while they are in the process of their research. The teacher connects the students to their mentors. The teacher will have constant communication with the mentors. Trail Ridge teachers will provide support and materials to the students to make them successful. Teachers will connect the project to relevant real world issues and curriculum being taught in the classroom, through both direct instruction and presentation of guest speakers and community partners.

Mentor Role:

Mentors will help students research and understand the issues of the natural disasters around the world. The mentors will make analogies to similar issues in other areas of the country and the world that those same disasters are taking place. It is important that the mentor can provide a real world perspective on the expanse of this problem. Finally, help the students identify problems and discover solutions to the problems our society faces or will face with respect to their chosen natural disaster.