InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Student Materials
InTeGrate's Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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For the Instructor

These student materials complement the Natural Hazards and Risks: Hurricanes Instructor Materials. If you would like your students to have access to the student materials, we suggest you either point them at the Student Version which omits the framing pages with information designed for faculty (and this box). Or you can download these pages in several formats that you can include in your course website or local Learning Managment System. Learn more about using, modifying, and sharing InTeGrate teaching materials.

Student Materials

Welcome Students!

Humans are drawn to the shore. We love to live and recreate there, but every summer and fall we hear news of devastating hurricanes reaching coastal and adjacent inland areas. In this two-week module, you will explore the concepts of hazard and risk, calculate risk, and learn how risk from natural disasters such as hurricanes can be mitigated. You will track hurricanes using the same data that scientists use. As part of this module, you will examine how hurricane hazards and risks have changed with coastal development and reflect on what this means to you. You will compare the impacts from different hurricanes and identify stakeholders facing a hypothetical evacuation in your own town.

Jump down to: Unit 2 | Unit 3 | Unit 4 | Unit 5 | Unit 6

Unit 1. Hazard and Risk

In this unit, you will learn the difference between hazard and risk. Using an example, you will learn the various ways risks can be mitigated.

  • Everyday activities such as driving bring risk, but so does having your dream house on the beach. This essay by Jared Diamond will introduce you to the concept of risk in our daily lives. As you read, consider:
    1. What do you think is the hazard you will encounter most frequently this week?
    2. What can you do, as an individual, to reduce risk from that hazard?
    3. If the hazard you identified is not a natural hazard, which natural hazard do you think poses the greatest risk to you and others in your town?
  • Additional resources:

Unit 2. Hurricane Formation

In this unit, you will learn how hurricanes form from the interaction of the oceans, atmosphere, and land. You will also use data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to make predictions about hurricane landfall.

Unit 3. Hurricane Tracks

In this unit, you will follow hurricane paths and figure out how much energy a hurricane releases.

  • On this NOAA Hurricane Tracker, click "Set Location" and then click on your hometown. See how many hurricanes have passed near your town. Experiment with different search areas and hurricane sizes. Are you surprised by the number of hurricanes that have come close to your hometown in your lifetime? (If you are not in an East or Gulf Coast state, try Concord, New Hampshire.)
  • Additional resources:

Unit 4. Hurricane Impacts

Hurricanes can devastate a coastal area and can also cause serious problems inland.

Unit 5. Hurricane Risks and Coastal Development

In this unit, you will learn about hurricane preparedness and examine how risks from coastal development have changed over time .

Unit 6. Prediction and Evacuations

As a hurricane approaches, officials making the decision to order an evacuation must use complex but uncertain data and weigh the interests of many stakeholders. On the one hand, unnecessary evacuations cost money and public confidence in officials. On the other hand, failure to evacuate can cost lives, money, and public confidence in officials. In this final unit, you will consider the many stakeholders in an evacuation decision. Being able to consider multiple perspectives is an important skill for many of the challenges our society faces.

  • What would you do if you heard a hurricane was coming to your town in three days? This reading from the New York Times was published as Tropical Storm Issac approached the Gulf in August 2012 and provides a variety of perspectives on evacuation. As you read:
    1. Make a list of the different stakeholders represented.
    2. Consider what stakeholders are not included in the reading.
  • In a video interview, one young woman in Connecticut explains her decisions to evacuate for Hurricane Irene in 2011 and to stay in her house for Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

     

These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »