As students investigate this problem situation they learn about government agencies, civic organizations, emergency management, storm preparedness, weather prediction, and a particular type of storm known as a tropical cyclone, or hurricane.
Working through this unit, students enlarge their understanding of the concepts of prediction, probability, and preparedness. Unit content interrelates these concepts in a significant "big idea," or essential understanding: Predictions of high probability inform preparedness.
Hurricane Season - Prepare! is a problem-based learning (PBL) unit, as are all of the T2 units . The skills that are developed through participation in a PBL unit include decision-making, critical thinking, and, of course, problem solving. T2 units also highlight the effective use of metacognition and collaboration.
This unit is designed for upper elementary level (4th or 5th grade) and integrates the content areas of science and social studies. Mathematics and language arts skills also are called upon, as are technology skills. Appropriate state (NC) and national standards have been identified and can be found in the Professional Information Center.
The time frame is variable, to be determined by each teacher. We recommend a minimum of two weeks for the preparedness section, then an additional week of tracking the hurricane.
NOTE: Hurricane "Harriet" is modeled after Hurricane Hazel, by many accounts the most destructive hurricane in North Carolina history. It came ashore as a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds and a storm surge of 18 feet. As it swept up the eastern United States and into Canada, it left 19 people dead and over 200 injured, 15,000 homes and buildings destroyed, 30 counties with major damage, and an estimated $136 million in property loss in North Carolina alone.
"Suffolk County" is fictitious. The location we have given it is actually in Brunswick County. The county seat of "Poseidon" is also fictitious. We located it in the direct path of where Hurricane Hazel came ashore on October 15, 1954.
We have included information and references about this hurricane in the Professional Development Center. We thought after the unit is over, and students have made their decisions, you would want to share this bit of history with them.