Major Storms and Community Resilience > Unit 3: Culmination of Module in Town Hall Meeting

Unit 3: Culmination of Module in Town Hall Meeting

This Unit serves as the Summative Assessment for the Major Storms and Community Resilience Module

Created and Compiled by: Lisa Doner (Plymouth State University), Lorraine Motola (Metropolitan College of New York), and Patricia Stapleton (Worcester Polytechnic Institute). Based on the activity created by: Jennifer Haney (Bloomsburg University), "Using a Town Hall Meeting Scenario to Explore the Impacts of Hurricane Sandy"

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.

Overview

Students take on roles of different stakeholders in a community and engage in a town hall meeting to evaluate the local hazard mitigation plan for major storms.

Science and Engineering Practices

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information: Communicate scientific and/or technical information or ideas (e.g. about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (i.e., orally, graphically, textually, mathematically). HS-P8.5:

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information: Evaluate the validity and reliability of and/or synthesize multiple claims, methods, and/or designs that appear in scientific and technical texts or media reports, verifying the data when possible. HS-P8.4:

Engaging in Argument from Evidence: Respectfully provide and/or receive critiques on scientific arguments by probing reasoning and evidence, challenging ideas and conclusions, responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, and determining additional information required to resolve contradictions. HS-P7.3:

Engaging in Argument from Evidence: Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument or counter-arguments based on data and evidence. HS-P7.4:

Cross Cutting Concepts

Systems and System Models: Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems. MS-C4.1:

Scale, Proportion and Quantity: The significance of a phenomenon is dependent on the scale, proportion, and quantity at which it occurs. HS-C3.1:

Cause and effect: Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system. HS-C2.2:

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:

Developing Possible Solutions: When evaluating solutions, it is important to take into account a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, and to consider social, cultural, and environmental impacts. HS-ETS1.B1:

Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems: Criteria and constraints also include satisfying any requirements set by society, such as taking issues of risk mitigation into account, and they should be quantified to the extent possible and stated in such a way that one can tell if a given design meets them. HS-ETS1.A1:

Performance Expectations

Earth and Human Activity: Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects. MS-ESS3-2:

Engineering Design: Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts. HS-ETS1-3:

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

Over the course of one week, students will apply and evaluate concepts in the context of their local community, culminating in the formulation and evaluation of Hazard Mitigation Plan recommendations presented in stakeholder position papers. These position papers, which will also serve as the summative assessment of the Major Storms and Community Resilience Module, will be presented and assessed during a Town Hall Meeting. In this role-playing activity, students apply and evaluate concepts in the context of assigned stakeholder positions from their local community. Over the course of the week, students formulate and evaluate Hazard Mitigation Plan recommendations for major storms, and then present those recommendations in a town hall-style meeting. These assignments demonstrate students' ability to develop strategies and recommendations to mitigate local community vulnerabilities to storms with specific emphasis on different sectors and/or stakeholders in that community. Instructors will assess student achievement of the learning goals through a formal oral presentation and a team policy position paper. As such, the culmination of Unit 3 in the Town Hall Meeting serves as the summative assessment for the Major Storms module.

Learning Goals

  • For students to evaluate credible geoscience and social science data to identify environmental, political, and social hazards and vulnerabilities for their community case study in the context of major storms.
  • For students to collect and examine relevant weather-related and community data to analyze and evaluate community preparedness and current and future vulnerabilities.
  • For students to determine stakeholders (including from critical infrastructure sectors) to assess levels of risk and vulnerability across the community and to identify gaps in community hazard mitigation plans for major storms.
  • For students to develop and communicate recommendations on how to reduce environmental, social, and political risks and design a comprehensive community plan to respond to major storms.

Context for Use

This Unit is designed to be implemented over two consecutive 90-minute class sessions, with homework after each session.

These activities make up the final unit of the three-unit module, Major Storms and Community Resilience. As such, students will already have completed background work and assignments on the foundational concepts that are required for Unit 3 in Unit 1. In addition, students will have had an opportunity to apply and evaluate that knowledge in the context of two storm types (hurricanes and winter storms) in Unit 2 before beginning Unit 3. The activities and writing assignments are modeled in the first two units with the expectation that students will be able to apply the skills and knowledge that they have gained in the first weeks of the module to the cumulative assignments in the last week.

Unit 3 requires basic mathematics, deductive reasoning, critical thinking, presentation skills, and writing appropriate for science and non-science majors at the university or advanced high-school level. It can be used in a lecture or online setting, although a traditional classroom setting would more easily facilitate the final debate. Internet access is essential for the research activities and to access data for homework assignments. Students also need a PDF-reader. Students should have successfully completed Units 1 and 2, and have a demonstrated conceptual literacy in geoscience and emergency management, as well as an understanding of risk assessment and risk management in a social science context, in order to reach the expected outcomes of Unit 3.

Description and Teaching Materials

Jump to: Preparation for Unit 3 | Optional Activity: Debris Removal | Unit 3, Day 1 | Homework Between Classes | Unit 3, Day 2

Overview of Unit 3

In the third unit of the module, students continue to develop skills introduced in Units 1 and 2, namely to evaluate and relate data to a final case study: their community. In Unit 2, students began to apply these skills and a systems thinking approach to their own community to assess preparedness, response, and resilience. They build on this foundation in Unit 3 by determining relevant stakeholders (including from critical infrastructure sectors), assessing levels of risk and vulnerability, and identifying gaps in their community's HMP in regard to major storms. Finally, students develop and communicate recommendations on how to reduce environmental, social, and political risks and design a comprehensive community plan to respond to major storms.

As noted above, the expectation is that the material for Unit 3 will be covered in two class sessions, assuming that class meets twice a week for approximately 90 minutes (~ 3 course hours total). Students should complete Units 1 and 2 of this module before Unit 3 begins. Instructors should assign readings on risk management and policymaking for homework before Unit 3, as well as the second part of the Press Release Assignment (revision) and (optionally) the Debris Removal Assignment (see below). If selected for inclusion in the Unit, instructors should ask students to complete the Debris Removal Assignment first, before completing the Press Release Revision Assignment (both for homework).

In the first class of Unit 3, the instructor should hold a short discussion of their revised press releases (~ 15 minutes). Class discussion should move into a brainstorming session on stakeholders/actors and critique of the current HMP for the local community (~ 40 minutes). Instructors should then spend about 10 minutes explaining the final assignments for the module and splitting students into stakeholder teams. The remaining time in the class should allow students to meet as teams to discuss their work schedule, begin to formulate their position for the Town Hall Meeting, and draft an initial version of their Talking Points. The final class of the Storm Module (Unit 3, Day 2) should be dedicated to the Town Hall Meeting (~ 60 minutes), with approximately 30 minutes reserved for debriefing (~15 minutes) and peer evaluations (~ 15 minutes).

General Purpose: To prepare students for the Town Hall Meeting (and its related assignments) by having students review and evaluate approaches to risk assessment, management, and communication.

Specific Aims: To reinforce real-world examples of community vulnerability and risk assessment, management, and communication; to continue to build students' knowledge and exposure to different approaches to risk assessment, management, and communication; to demonstrate the role of stakeholders in risk assessment, management, and communication in preparation for role-playing in the Town Hall Meeting; and to have students practice their critical thinking skills by reviewing and evaluating HMPs.

Preparation for Unit 3

Students should successfully complete Units 1 and 2 of the Major Storms Module before beginning Unit 3. Before the first class of Unit 3, instructors should also assign readings and assignments to students, including: the revision of the Press Release Assignment and (optional) the Debris Removal Assignment.

Unit 3 Homework (to be administered before starting Part I)

Readings:

Assignments:

Optional Activity for Unit 3: Debris Removal

This activity uses Hurricane Sandy as a case study to examine the role of stakeholders in policymaking on the environmental and community impacts of major storms. Specifically, students will look at how stakeholders' performances are reviewed to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the strategies in place and to determine if any changes need to be made to any stage of preparedness, response, and resilience. This assignment will help prepare students for a class discussion on the role of stakeholders in risk assessment, management, emergency preparedness, and resilience. A more detailed introduction and instructor information is in this file:

Debris Removal Activity Instructor


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Debris Removal Activity PDF Version


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General Purpose: The purpose of the Debris Removal Activity is to familiarize students with and promote understanding of the role of community stakeholders in risk assessment, risk management, emergency preparedness, and resilience. The activity is highly recommended for inclusion in courses where instructors have not explicitly reviewed the concept or role of stakeholders in policymaking. However, the activity is designed and written for implementation in all types of disciplines—and specifically so non-social science students can understand and complete it.

Specific Aims:Through this activity, students have another opportunity to see real-world examples of risk assessment, management, and communication reinforced; to continue to build knowledge and exposure to different approaches to risk assessment, management, and communication; to demonstrate the role of stakeholders in risk assessment, management, and communication in preparation for role-playing in the Town Hall Meeting; and to practice their critical thinking skills by reviewing and evaluating a task force's report. The activity has been developed as a low-stakes assignment to help facilitate discussion on the role of stakeholders before students are split into stakeholder groups for the Town Hall Meeting.

Instructors who choose not to include the Debris Removal Activity should consider where else in the module they can introduce the role of stakeholders in decision-making, in preparation for the Town Hall Meeting. Instructors can highlight the role of stakeholders that should be included in risk communications (Press Release Assignment), for example, or as part of their HMP Analysis in Unit 1. The optional Coastal Erosion Activity provides another opportunity if it is included in Unit 2. Or, instructors may choose to build a discussion on the reading assigned for the first part of Unit 3; the GSA's Position Statement can provide a starting point for talking about the role of experts in policymaking.

Part I - Unit 3, Class 1: Stakeholder, Risk Assessment, & Risk Management

General Purpose: To create a foundation of ideas and positions for the Town Hall Meeting assignments.

Specific Aims: To provide students with a foundation for further research on the role of stakeholders in their local community in the context of major storm preparedness in order to facilitate completion of the final assignments for the Major Storms Module.

Lesson Outline: In this class, the instructor should hold a short discussion of their revised press releases (~ 15 minutes).

In the Press Release Revision discussion, instructors may guide the conversation with the following questions:

  1. Did students make major changes to their Press Releases?
  2. What made them think differently about what information to share?
  3. What made them think differently about how to share that information (use of stats, language, etc.)?
  4. Did they see differences during the Peer Review in the context of storm phase (preparedness vs. response vs. resilience)?
  5. [If optional Debris Removal Activity was included] Did the activity on debris removal and consideration of the role of stakeholders influence their revisions? If yes, how?

Class discussion should then move into a brainstorming session on stakeholders/actors and critique of the current HMP for the local community (~ 40 minutes). Students should consider their work on the HMP Analysis Activity for NOLA from Unit 1 to provide feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of their own community's current HMP. Questions to consider with specific attention to the assigned hazard:

  1. How is the hazard currently presented in the HMP: vulnerability, frequency, probability, severity, impacts, etc.?
  2. What are other risks or hazards associated with your assigned hazard?
  3. How is your hazard prioritized (high, low) in the HMP? What information helped you determine its prioritization?
  4. What are the strengths of the existing HMP's treatment of your hazard? What are the weaknesses? How might your community improve its HMP for your assigned hazard?
  5. What stakeholders have been involved in developing your community's HMP? What stakeholders would likely be involved in revisions to your community's HMP?

Based on this feedback, students as a class will identify three critical infrastructure sectors, as well as other important stakeholders, in their local community in the context of major storm preparedness. The instructor may choose to tie the conversation back to demographic data: class, race, age, population concentration, disability, etc. (see Teaching Notes and Tips below). During the session, the instructor should encourage discussion on the general interests of the stakeholders mentioned and whether/how they are a part of critical infrastructure sectors.

Based on what the discussion produces, the instructor should select several stakeholder categories to assign to student teams (see Teaching Notes and Tips below). Instructors should then spend about 10 minutes explaining the final assignments for the module, splitting students into teams, and assigning each team a stakeholder category. The remaining time should allow students to meet as teams to discuss their work schedule, begin to formulate their position for the Town Hall Meeting, and draft an initial version of their Talking Points.

Lesson Materials:

  • Students should come to class with their completed homework assignment(s).

Unit 3 Homework (assigned between classes)

General Purpose: To encourage and promote data analysis and writing skills for students in a real-world context.

Specific Aims: To have students critically evaluate geoscience data and community HMPs in order to prepare recommendations for the Town Hall Meeting and in writing for their Position Paper. Students will build on the literacy and skills they have developed in Units 1 and 2 to complete the final assignments.

Homework Overview: Between the two parts of Unit 3, students will formulate recommendations for a revised Hazard Mitigation Plan to address perceived weaknesses based on their position for homework. As a group, students will write a Talking Points Memo, outlining the case for their recommendations.

Materials for Homework:

Depending on the level of the course, instructors may decide to provide local data specific to a particular storm type (to be determined by instructor) in order to complete this activity. Possible examples include flood heights, ice storm characteristics, tidal heigh, storm surge height, local topography, and flood zones. The goal is for students to assess the risks for an event that has not yet happened, using local vulnerabilities to that type of hazard, and evidence to support their assessments. For more advanced classes, instructors may choose to simply point the students towards a source for flood maps, or to the nearest USGS river gauging station, rather than provide the sources directly. The instructor's goal in selecting materials will be to provide students with local documents and data that students will then use in conjunction with the materials that have been provided and reviewed over the course of the entire module to create their own recommendations for their local community.

Part II - Unit 3, Class 2: Town Hall Meeting

General Purpose: To demonstrate students' ability to develop strategies and recommendations to mitigate local community vulnerabilities to storms with specific emphasis on different sectors and/or stakeholders in that community.

Specific Aims: To have students demonstrate their literacy and understanding of the concepts of the Major Storm Module; to have students understand risk assessment, management, and communication in a real-world context through role-playing; and to serve as the summative assessment of the Major Storms Module.

Lesson Overview: In the second class session of Unit 3, students will present and debate their positions in a town hall-style meeting. They will be assessed on both their policy position paper and oral presentations.

Lesson Materials:

  • Students should bring notes on their positions for the debate, and all members of each team should have read the Talking Points for other groups and be prepared to represent the interests of their own group.
  • Instructors may want to provide tokens to students as a way to keep track of speakers (see Teaching Notes and Tips below).
  • Peer Evaluation forms (optional), see Teaching Notes and Tips below.

Teaching Notes and Tips

  • As noted above, if selected for inclusion in the Unit, instructors should ask students to complete the Debris Removal Assignment first, before completing the Press Release Revision Assignment (both for homework).
  • For preparation for class discussion on the community HMP, instructors should distribute the "questions to consider" in advance, so students know what to look for when reading.
    1. How is the hazard currently presented in the HMP: vulnerability, frequency, probability, severity, impacts, etc.?
    2. What are other risks or hazards associated with your assigned hazard?
    3. How is your hazard prioritized (high, low) in the HMP? What information helped you determine its prioritization?
    4. What are the strengths of the existing HMP's treatment of your hazard? What are the weaknesses? How might your community improve its HMP for your assigned hazard?
    5. What stakeholders have been involved in developing your community's HMP? What stakeholders would likely be involved in revisions to your community's HMP?
  • Students should already be familiar with the foundational concepts and vocabulary, Hazard Mitigation Plans, hazard vulnerability analyses, and other government documents necessary for developing their policy position papers. However, instructors may want to include additional background documents for student preparation, such as hazard mitigation plans for neighboring or similar communities, a selection of news articles related to past storms, and links to the webpages of assigned stakeholders for the activity.
  • Outcomes of the brainstorming session will be affected by where the Major Storms Module is implemented. A class held in a small town in central Texas will identify different stakeholders and critical infrastructure sectors than a class held in New York City, for example. However, stakeholders should fall into several broad categories: elected public officials, critical infrastructure administrators, representatives for citizens, representatives for the environment, administrators for other local/state/national agencies and departments (prisons, schools, etc.).
  • Instructors may also want to introduce unconventional stakeholder groups, like animals (deer, bears, seagulls, etc.) or plant life (trees, seaweed, etc.).
  • Instructors may want to introduce demographic data into the brainstorming session (or earlier as part of the readings for homework) so students consider the different vulnerabilities present in their community. Again, this will be contingent on the geographic location where the module is implemented. Instructors may wish to refer to the Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans case study, the New Hampshire State HMP, and the Superstorm Sandy in New York City case study as illustrative examples where demographics affected storm preparation, response, and resilience.
  • Group Assignments: 3–4 students per stakeholder group is ideal; there should be no more than 5 students per group. Depending on class size, instructors may choose to increase the number of stakeholder groups assigned, rather than the number of students per group. If class size is small, instructors may want to assign specific stakeholder roles to individuals, rather than having them work in groups.
  • The authors have included many possible stakeholder groups in the Town Hall Guidelines (Microsoft Word 20kB Nov4 16). Instructors may determine that fewer groups would be appropriate to allow for a more directed debate. Alternatively, instructors may decide to add additional groups based on their community's governance structure. The authors suggest that at least four groups be represented in the Town Hall Meeting.
  • In order to help facilitate students speaking during the Town Hall Meeting, the instructor may wish to distribute a predetermined number of tokens or cards to each student. Whenever a student speaks one token must be given to the instructor. This will ensure that each student has at least one opportunity to speak, and will help the instructor track of how much each student has participated. Instructors may also indicate a time limit to each comment (similar to political debates) to help maintain order. The module authors recommend three tokens per student and a one-minute limit to comments; however, depending on class size, the instructor may need to make adjustments (e.g. larger class sizes may require that students have less time or less opportunities to talk).
  • Instructors may have students complete a Self- and Peer-Evaluation Form (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 23kB Nov4 16) after the Town Hall Meeting is finished or after the final paper has been submitted; it can be administered in class or online. The Evaluation Form allows instructors to better assess the contributions of individual team members to the position paper and meeting preparation. If instructors decide to require evaluations, they should inform students before teams begin working together. Instructors should also inform students of how the evaluations will affect their grade.

Assessment

Students will be assessed using a rubric for their position paper and rubrics for their participation during the Town Hall Meeting Policy Paper & Debate Rubrics (Microsoft Word 29kB Nov4 16). The position paper will be used as the measure of the module's summative assessment. Students who score well on the rubrics will have demonstrated that they:

  • Have evaluated credible geoscience and social science data, and from that evaluation were able to identify environmental, political, and social hazards and vulnerabilities for their community case study in the context of major storms.
  • Have collected and examined relevant weather-related and community data to analyze and evaluate community preparedness and current and future vulnerabilities.
  • Have determined the relevant stakeholders needed to assess levels of risk and vulnerability across the community and to identify gaps in community hazard mitigation plans for major storms.
  • Have developed and communicated recommendations on how to reduce environmental, social, economic, and political risks and designed a comprehensive community plan to respond to major storms, which are supported by evidence.
  • Have demonstrated a systems thinking approach in their hazard mitigation plan critique and subsequent recommendations by addressing potential environmental, economic, social, and political impacts of the proposed actions in the context of preparedness, management, and resilience.

References and Resources

Supplementary Resources