Module 11: Tsunami and Storm Surge Policy
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
Students assess how government and stakeholders plan for and respond to coastal disasters in this module. To accomplish this, they start by determining who and what is at risk to contemporary hurricane storm surge in Sarasota, Florida. Students then use that understanding to plan a post-disaster recovery forum, including assembling the forum planning team and identifying forum participants, collecting relevant community-based data, facilitating the forum, and helping forum participants develop post-disaster response plans. Materials for students for this module are located at the link to student materials below. Teachers can find documentation of the activities at this location as well as rubrics for students. Rubrics for teachers are compiled under Assessment on this site. Suggestions for teaching and a list of the assessments are found below.
Teaching Notes and Tips
This module is much more applied than conceptual, so students tend to understand and relate to the material easily. The four parts of the disaster management cycle — mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery — are made real by focusing on two coastal hazards the students are familiar with, tsunami and storm surge, and by illustrating points using numerous well-known disasters like Japan's Fukushima Daiichi disaster and New York's Hurricane Katrina disaster. Nevertheless, to grasp the purpose and outcomes of the summative assessment, it is especially important for students to read the entire summative assessment text before starting the exercise. Moreover, the ancillary reading is necessary because some of the text derives directly from that reading. The formative assessment is somewhat straightforward and uses skills learned in earlier modules; students can do this assessment well with little help or collaboration. In contrast, although they require little guidance from the instructor to do the summative assessment, it works better when students perform the assessment's steps in teams because doing so gives them a chance to discuss the conference activities and actors and thereby come up with more ideas than if they were to perform these steps on their own.What students found difficult:
Students did not tend to have difficulties understanding the text or doing the formative or summative assessments.Reflections
Although the material was not difficult, students found the policy focus of the summative assessment required them not only to follow directions, but also to make decisions, which they found unnatural and — at least for some — unsettling. We found it helpful to encourage students by telling them that the scenario is completely realistic and that, if they pursue the Earth sciences professionally, they will likely be called upon to help make these kinds of decisions.
Is it possible to drop the formative assessment?
Students had little difficulty with the formative assessment it and received good scores on it. Its focus on understanding storm surge risk zones and evacuation appeals to students and instructors who have more appreciation for the physical sciences and less for the social sciences. Still, it covers skills that students learned in previous modules and the ideas highlighted in the formative assessment are not difficult to grasp, so it is possible to eliminate it and still enable students to understand the major concepts presented in the module.
- Formative Assessment: Analyzing a storm surge risk map: Students analyze the vulnerability of Sarasota County infrastructure to storm surge.
- Summative Assessment: Post-Disaster Recovery Plan: Students develop a post-disaster recovery plan for Sarasota County, Florida to storm surge and other kinds of coastal hazards.
References and Resources
- Student readings are provided in Student Materials — Module 11: Tsunamis and storm surge policy