Natural Hazards Term Project

Mike Phillips, Illinois Valley Community College
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see

This page first made public: May 16, 2012


Students apply the concepts learned in the class by preparing two (2) term projects discussing two natural hazards and how they impact the area where the student lives (or an area the student might like to live in).



Introductory level/gen ed course in natural hazards.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students must be able to identify and assess the hazard using published resources and personal observation.

Students must be able to analyze the hazard in the context of the community and determine the likely consequences of the hazard should an event occur.

Students must be able to analyze the hazard and determine responses that are likely to be reasonable, effective, and appropriate.

How the activity is situated in the course

The assignment is undertaken twice, once at mid-term and once as a final project. The first assignment is returned and may be revised and resubmitted for a revised grade. The second assignment may not be revised after submission.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Students can assess the likelihood that a given hazard will impact a community. They can research and describe the history of the hazard, its probability of occurrence, its likely consequences, and appropriate ways of dealing with it.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students must be able to evaluate data to develop a risk assessment (including probability and consequences). Students must be able to evaluate planned community responses to a hazard and assess whether or not they are appropriate and how they could be improved.

Other skills goals for this activity

Students must be able to use the internet to collect information. Students should be able to use personal interviews to collect information. Students must be able to assemble information and conclusions into a coherent written paper with properly cited resources.

Description and Teaching Materials

Project web site, including guidelines (and outline), resources, and grade sheet.

Teaching Notes and Tips

It is important to have the students complete two projects. Completion of the at mid-term allows them to assess their errors in collecting information, assessing the hazard, and developing conclusions.


I have a grading rubric that assesses ten areas including data collection and analysis and clarity of presentation.

References and Resources

The site contains the project description as well as links to some on-line sources and the grading rubric.
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