InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Major Storms and Community Resilience
 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 materials are free 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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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 page first made public: Jul 26, 2017

Summary

Extreme storms have major impacts on the communities that lie in their path. Many climate models predict increased frequency of heavy rains and icing events, freak storms, and severe weather within the continental United States as a result of ongoing climate changes. In many locales, risk factors for such economically damaging events are no longer accurately predicted by historical trend analyses. In addition, such variables as time of year, tidal conditions, and temperature can exacerbate the severity of a storm's impact. A community's ability to respond to a major storm, and to exhibit resilience afterwards, depends on its capabilities in risk assessment, management, and preparedness. Because of the rapid pace of changes within the global climate system, preparedness for future risks now also depends on understanding that old paradigms about risk may no longer apply. New risk models must take into account complex and incompletely identified geosystem feedbacks. Community resilience, therefore, increasingly depends on adapting to an uncertain level of risk from weather extremes.


This module prepares students in many different disciplines to:
  • Use one or more high-profile events as case studies to illustrate storm-related risk and resilience measures.
  • Explore storm preparedness in a chosen region, with a focus on risk assessment, management, and resilience.
  • Analyze and apply information sources and data-handling methods, using case studies.
  • Conduct research on storm events and local impacts through various investigative, data-rich assignments.
  • Compile and review data relevant to assessing and managing risk for particular types of storm events.
  • Use a Town Hall Meeting approach to assess emergency-preparedness and potential resilience within a community.
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These materials have been reviewed for their alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards. At the top of each page, you can click on the NGSS logo to see the specific connections. Visit InTeGrate and the NGSS to learn more about the process of alignment and how to use InTeGrate materials to implement the NGSS.

NGSS in this Module

As a whole, this module provides an opportunity for students to engage in analyzing data, evaluating real-world solutions to mitigating risk from a natural hazard, and develop arguments from evidence about how to modify or refine those plans to better represent all stakeholders. The module could be easily adapted for any community that has a hazard mitigation plan in place, but is best suited to coastal communities.

A great fit for courses in:

  • Natural Hazards
  • Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Science
  • Earth Science
  • Public Policy
  • Environmental Sociology
  • Global Change
  • Disaster Management

The authors have built the module using active learning techniques. Because of the interdisciplinarity of the module, the authors anticipate that students from across disciplines will bring different knowledge bases to the topic of major storms. Active learning techniques will allow instructors to capitalize on the different strengths of their respective classes, while minimizing student confusion when exposed to new approaches. For example, the Hazard Vulnerability Analysis Activity in Unit 1 uses Just-in-Time-Teaching techniques to help facilitate student learning. Students will complete a Hazard Vulnerability Analysis as homework and submit it before class. This will allow instructors to identify areas of concern or low-understanding before the class meeting, and in turn will allow instructors to spend class time on areas of high need. Other examples of active learning techniques used throughout the module include (but are not limited to): peer learning activities, jigsaw activities, and oral presentations/debates. ​

Supported community developed, nationally recognized Earth Science Literacy Principles:

  • Earth Science Literacy 1.1: Earth scientists find solutions to society's needs.
  • Earth Science Literacy 1.2: Earth scientists use a large variety of scientific principles to understand how our planet works.
  • Earth Science Literacy 1.5: Earth scientists use their understanding of the past to forecast Earth's future.
  • Earth Science Literacy 8.1: Natural hazards result from natural Earth processes.
  • Earth Science Literacy 8.7: Humans cannot eliminate natural hazards, but can engage in activities that reduce impacts.
  • Earth Science Literacy 8.8: An Earth-science-literate public is essential for reducing risks from natural hazards.

Supported community developed, nationally-recognized Ocean Science Literacy Principles:

  • Ocean Science Literacy Principle 6 F: Coastal regions are susceptible to natural hazards (such as tsunamis, hurricanes, cyclones, sea level change, and storm surges).

Supported Essential Principles of Climate Science:

  • 7 C: Incidents of extreme weather are projected to increase as a result of climate change. Many locations will see a substantial increase in the number of heat waves they experience per year and a likely decrease in episodes of severe cold. Precipitation events are expected to become less frequent but more intense in many areas, and droughts will be more frequent and severe in areas where average precipitation is projected to decrease.

Addressed community developed, nationally-recognized Atmospheric Science Literacy Principles:

  • Atmospheric Science Literacy Principle 7.4: Weather forecasts and predictions of future climate assist us in implementing mitigation strategies and adaptation to new climatic conditions.
  • Atmospheric Science Literacy Principle 7.5: Citizens need to become educated about Earth's atmosphere to make informed decisions on issues at local, regional, and global levels.


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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.
Explore the Collection »