Teach the Earth > Visualization > Teaching Activities > 2004 Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster Project

2004 Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster Project

Char Bezanson
,
Eastview High School, Apple Valley, Minnesota
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection

Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
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This page first made public: Aug 30, 2006

Summary

Students are employees of a unit of the United Nations responsible for coordinating disaster relief after a major disaster (the 2004 Asian Earthquake and Tsunami) occurs. The agency needs to understand the situation in each country so that it can coordinate the work of various governments and NGO (nongovernmental organizations) working in the affected area.

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Context

Audience

High School (9-12), College - Lower (13-14)

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

None.

How the activity is situated in the course

Flexible.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

  • Recognize the importance of knowing something about earth science in the fields of international aid, foreign policy, and international development.
  • Vice versa; recognize importance of foreign language/international awareness in science fields.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

  • Connect Earth Science to a significant real world event
  • Think globally about earth events

Other skills goals for this activity

  • Consider careers in related areas.

Description of the activity/assignment

This is a problem-based learning (PBL) group jigsaw activity. The scenario is:

Students are employees of a unit of the United Nations responsible for coordinating disaster relief after a major disaster (the 2004 Asian Earthquake and Tsunami) occurs. The agency needs to understand the situation in each country so that it can coordinate the work of various governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in the affected area.

Students are divided into Expert Groups (related to academic specialties such as Economics, Medicine, Political Science, Earth Science, etc.) and spend several days researching their topics. Students are then reassigned to one of seven or eight Country Groups, based on the countries most affected by the disaster. Each country group needs someone representing each expert group. In the scenario, these groups correspond to task forces that must determine what the situation is in each country and try to assess the current need for international assistance.

Students research their country, using internet resources, especially the CIA World Factbook and ReliefWeb, the information coordination website of the United Nations. At a large-group roundtable discussion, each group presents what it has found about its assigned country. As a final product, each student writes an individual report summarizing findings and making recommendations for disaster assistance.

Determining whether students have met the goals

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

  • ReliefWeb: This is the site of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. It provides disaster information to and about charities working around the world.
  • USAID: This is the US Agency for International Development, which provides econmoic and humanitarian assistance through the US Government.
  • CIA - The World Factbook: This site tells all about different countries, including statistics, government and a map.
  • Wikipedia: 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake: This page at Wikipedia is a community-developed clearinghouse for very extensive information on the earthquake and tsunami. There are tons of links, both internal and external to Wikipedia. They also provide access to news reports, pictures, videos, animations, scientific and government reports, as well as aid group sites.

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