Unit 2: Perception of hazards, vulnerability and risk
These materials have been reviewed for their alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards as detailed below. Visit InTeGrate and the NGSS to learn more.
OverviewIn this unit, students collect and analyze their own data through the use of a survey that addresses knowledge and perceptions of risks and hazards. This unit provides particularly good opportunities for students to ask and refine questions based on their data collection.
Science and Engineering Practices
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions: Construct a scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from sources (including the students’ own experiments) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future. MS-P6.3:
Analyzing and Interpreting Data: Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships. MS-P4.2:
Asking Questions and Defining Problems: ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables HS-P1.3:
Asking Questions and Defining Problems: Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information. HS-P1.1:
Cross Cutting Concepts
Patterns: Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data. MS-C1.4:
Patterns: Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns. HS-C1.5:
Cause and effect: Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects. HS-C2.1:
Disciplinary Core Ideas
Natural Hazards: Mapping the history of natural hazards in a region, combined with an understanding of related geologic forces can help forecast the locations and likelihoods of future events. MS-ESS3.B1:
Earth and Human Activity: Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity. HS-ESS3-1:
This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process. This rigorous, structured process includes:
- team-based development to ensure materials are appropriate across multiple educational settings.
- multiple iterative reviews and feedback cycles through the course of material development with input to the authoring team from both project editors and an external assessment team.
- real in-class testing of materials in at least 3 institutions with external review of student assessment data.
- multiple reviews to ensure the materials meet the InTeGrate materials rubric which codifies best practices in curricular development, student assessment and pedagogic techniques.
- review by external experts for accuracy of the science content.
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 https://serc.carleton.edu/teachearth/activity_review.html.
This page first made public: Oct 20, 2014
- Students will distribute a web-based natural hazard and risk survey to their social network (e.g., friends and family).
- Students will analyze the resulting data set to determine the level of knowledge, risk perception and preparedness of their community to natural hazards.
Context for Use
It is critical that, prior to starting Unit 2, instructors have created a Google link for the Natural Hazards Survey (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 25kB Oct19 14) to give to students to distribute to their social networks and save the data set that will be used for analysis; information can be found in Help for Google Docs for Natural Hazards Survey (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 22kB Oct19 14). It is also of utmost importance to create packets of graphs for each group for Part A and B - Excel Template for Research Questions (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 320kB Oct19 14), where instructions can be found under "Teaching Notes and Tips."
Before starting this unit, it is necessary to have a lecture or discussion on factors that shape perception of risk, where you can use either Introduction to Risk and Vulnerability for Geoscience Courses (PowerPoint 3.8MB Oct28 14) or Introduction to Risk and Vulnerability for Social Science Courses (PowerPoint 485kB Oct27 14). This will help guide students in how to examine and analyze the data. There are also articles posted in "References and Resources" to assist students in analyzing risk perception for their communities.
Necessary materials for class activities include access to computers with Excel and Word.
- For Part A, plan to set aside at least one class period to go over the materials.
- For Part B, plan to set aside at least one to two class periods to start analyzing research questions. Having access to computers or a computer lab is recommended so that the instructor can interact with groups and help with creating tables and graphs from the data set.
Description and Teaching Materials
Unit 2 Student Instructions (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 28kB Oct19 14): This file contains the worksheets for both Part A and Part B.
Introduction to Risk and Vulnerability for Geoscience Courses (PowerPoint 3.8MB Oct28 14): This lecture introduces and outlines risk and vulnerability for geoscience courses and also includes an optional case study based on Baberi et al. (2008).
Introduction to Risk and Vulnerability for Social Science Courses (PowerPoint 485kB Oct27 14): This lecture introduces and outlines risk and vulnerability for social science and Interdisciplinary courses.Under "Teaching Tips and Tools" there are files designated to help students create graphs and tables in Excel and Google docs.
For this unit, the class will conduct an initial analysis of a subset of the survey data (Part A Worksheet). A class discussion of the data and research questions will be followed by a more in-depth analysis of the entire survey data (Part B Worksheet). Work is to be completed in the same groups created in Unit 1.
The class will analyze the survey data created from the natural hazards survey. The instructor will provide a set of results (Excel plots) to each team. The instructor will instruct students on how to analyze the survey results. Students will assess (1) the state of knowledge, (2) state of risk perception, and (3) level of preparedness by answering the questions below.
Students will first complete the Part A Worksheet (one per group) using the subset of graphs provided by the instructor.
Class Discussion — to be held after answering questions in Part A Worksheet:
- What was the most interesting graph(s) and why?
- What are you curious to learn about this population? What additional factors might influence results of each graph (e.g., age, gender)? Why?
- Come up with several research questions to explore with the data set (as a class, we will refine these research questions).
If class time permits, encourage students to start on Part B.
Part B (start in class and finish in next class and/or as homework)
Have students complete the Part B Worksheet (per group) using the full set of graphs and raw survey data provided by the instructor. The full set of graphs will include an electronic copy of the full, raw data set (Google frequencies, Excel file) and a full set of graphs. The graphs include Google-produced plots and the four research questions graphed by the instructor. The instructor should assist students in developing or refining a research question to test with the data set. Encourage students to share saved copies of the group research questions and graphs so that each person within the group has a copy.
Teaching Notes and Tips
Prior to Unit 2 the instructor will create packets of graphs for each group. For Instructors Only:
Provide time for student groups to complete Part A Worksheet, followed by class discussion.
Provide time or assign as homework Part B Worksheet. For Instructors Only:
Additional information on survey data analysis is provided below:
- Introduction to Social Survey Methodology (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 63kB Oct19 14): An introduction to social survey methodology, particularly useful if you want students to think about creating new questions for the survey.
- Help for Excel (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 926kB Oct19 14): Help file on how to create graphs in Excel.
- Help for Google Docs for Natural Hazards Survey (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 22kB Oct19 14): Help file for how to create frequencies graphs and pivot tables in Google docs.
- Coding for Excel (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 69kB Oct19 14): An alternative tool (if time permits) to teach about coding in Excel.
Unit 2 Part A Rubric (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 20kB Oct19 14): Rubric for students — Part A
Unit 2 Part B Rubric (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 22kB Oct19 14): Rubric for students — Part B
References and Resources
Journal Article: Barberi, F., M. S. Davis, R. Isaia, R. Nave, & T. Ricci. "Volcanic Risk Perception in the Vesuvius Population." Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research (2008): 172(3), 244-258. (web link provided)
Journal Article: Cutter, S.L., B. J. Boruff and W. L. Shirley. "Social Vulnerability to Environmental Hazards." Social Science Quarterly (2003): 84(2):242-261.
Journal Article: Lovekamp, William E., and Sara K. McMahon. "I Have a Snickers Bar in the Trunk of My Car: Student Narratives of Disaster Risk, Fear, Preparedness, and Reflections on Union University." International Journal of Mass Emergencies & Disasters (2011): 29(2):132-148.
Journal Article: Siegrist, M., and G. Cvetkovich. "Perception of Hazards: The Role of Social Trust and Knowledge." Risk Analysis (2000): Vol. 20, No 5: pp 713-719.
Journal Article: Wachinger, Gisela, et al. "The Risk Perception Paradox: Implications for Governance and Communication of Natural Hazards." Risk Analysis (2013): 33(6): 1049-1065.
Journal Article: Wood, Nathan. "Understanding Risk and Resilience to Natural Hazards." U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet (2011): 2011-3008, 2 p.
Article web link: Why residents of disaster-prone areas don't move. Atlantic social science article by Harvey Molotch explains or provides reasons for why people may not leave disaster-prone areas.