Impact of Natural Disasters on the Earth

Judy Radke, Nicollet Public School, Nicollet, MN
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In this activity, students will explore the impact of various natural disasters on the earth. They will need some prior knowledge in order to do this lesson. I will provide a review of each of the natural disasters and we will use video to see the results of these disasters. We will begin by reviewing what each of the disasters are and what they look like. The disasters we will be looking at are, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, and earthquakes. We will do a demonstration of each of the disasters. We will also discuss how to stay safe during or before each of these disasters.

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Learning Goals

Students will be able to describe the impact of natural disasters. Students will be able to identify each of the disasters. They will observe each disaster on video to see its impact on the Earth. Students will be aware of the natural disasters and respect their power but also be prepared if ever faced with them. Vocabulary words will include: impact, flood, tornado, hurricane, volcano, earthquake, and natural disaster.

Context for Use

This activity is geared to a 5th grade classroom. Our class sizes range from 19-25 and would be manageable. I would try to have another adult in the room when we do the demonstrations. I see this as being at least a 2 week lesson. The students have been exposed to each of these disasters but very little. I will review each of the disasters but the focus will be on the impact of them. I will do this unit early in the school year because we have just had severe weather in the summer.

Description and Teaching Materials

We will begin this lesson with the hidden picture game. Each student will get a picture of one of the 5 storms. I will have 2 different pictures of each and some will get the same picture. When the students get the picture, they will describe their picture on a piece of paper. They will write 4-5 clues to describe the picture. I will then collect these and someone else will draw the picture based on the clues. When most are done drawing, we will have each student, one at a time, show their drawing and tell the class what they thought was described. We will then match the pictures to the clues to see how well students did describing their pictures. I will use this time to explain how important it is to use descriptive words to describe what they see. Each day we will look at 2 of the disasters. We will watch a movie or a webcast of the disaster and discuss it. We will also do a demonstration of each of the 5 disasters too. After discussing the 5 we will do the hidden picture game again to see how the students describe the disaster now.

Teaching Notes and Tips


Each student will draw a safety poster for 1 of the natural disasters. They will describe what to do if 1 of the disasters strikes. They will also draw and write a before and after picture of an area hit by one of the disasters. On 1 paper they will have a picture of a town or farm before the disaster and on another paper the same town after the disaster. They will also write a brief description of the impact of the disaster.


5.III.A.4-impact of natural disasters

References and Resources