Hurricane Investigation

Mel Huff
NEO A&M College
Author Profile


This is a simple homework assignment that will reinforce topics discussed in lecture as well as enabling students to search and analyze information on the web.

Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications



This assignment is for a physical geology course (undergraduate, non-science majors (primarily), freshman-sophmore). Students have only had a minor introduction to hurricanes at this point (particularly to Katrina and it's geologic impacts). I chose to do this simple exercise that isn't particularly geologic in nature, so that others who teach introductory meteorology or climate courses might be able to use it as well. In addition, we will discuss the geology in class. I wanted to give students a chance to investigate some of the other information pertaining to Katrina and how that hurricane fits in overall scale with other hurricanes. One of the major goals is getting students to figure out how to find information once they get to a give website. Many students use websites as their references in papers, but do they really know how to find specific information within a huge government website?

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students need a basic understanding of conditions necessary for hurricane formation.

How the activity is situated in the course

This exercise is a stand alone assignment. (note: I will probably use it in my environmental science course as well where it will be part one of two exercises). It is also designed in such a way that it can be built upon for class discussions or future assignments.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

The purpose of this assignment is (1) to review the basics of hurricane formation, and (2) gain experience searching for and analyzing hurricane data from the NOAA National Hurricane Center website.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students will be required to summarize information found in order to answer a couple of questions that require critical thinking skills.

Other skills goals for this activity

Students will have to navigate the NOAA NHC website for information in order to answer a series of questions that have not been discussed in class/lab.

Description of the activity/assignment

Students will be required to answer a series of simple questions for this assignment based on material covered in lecture. This assignment also allows students the experience of searching a website for more specific information about hurricane statistics that are not covered in lecture. Hurricane Katrina will be discussed in lecture. Students will see where Katrina falls relative to other major hurricanes while answering the questions.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students have met the goals of the assignment if they have correctly answered the questions in the assignment. In addition, students' responses to questions 10 and 11 will show if they have critically thought about the information they have been required to find.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Teaching materials and tips

Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs