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Lesson Plan: Hurricanes

Updated on November 17, 2012

Education Being a Preparation for Life

As a student of education and a follower of John Dewey, I agree that a curricular foundation should prepare students for life. School is a microcosm of what lies ahead in a civilized society, the macrocosm. Therefore, if we want our students to find value in the education that is provided to them, then we must make the learning utilitarian. Learning for the sake of learning without usefulness is inane. What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children (Dewey, The School and Society & The Child and the Curriculum, 2001).

Building Efficency: Teams for Success

John Dewey was a constructivist educator. He believed that we learned a thing by doing it (building it brick by brick). Today we call this philosophy of education, project-based learning or experiential learning.

You may ask, why is this kind of learning essential to growth or to the assimilation of people into society? Well, in order to accomplish great feats in the world, we all must come together in teams and share our talents. And how do we teach this? We teach this by identifying and nurturing the talents of each child in our classroom community. Then, we group these students into synergistic teams in order to energize the collective talents and accomplish important goals. After all, a community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm (Henrik Ibsen).

Learning should be something that can be transferred from the classroom to real world settings. Experience is not so much what happens to us as what we make of what happens to us (Aldous Huxley).

Forces of Nature

Every day, we are all faced with challenges. Some of those challenges include: disease, poverty, debt, war, crime, forces of nature and so much more. Many of us are ill prepared to face these overwhelming circumstances and as a result, succumb to the devastating plagues (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) they bring with them, so, it is incumbent upon educators to sculpt the curriculum into a more congruent and fluent model that mirrors the real world settings that impact human existence.

And, for this hub, I will be exposing you to curricula that pertains to "forces of nature," like Hurricane, Sandy, lessons to build personal resilience and applications for authentic environments.

Literacy is Important in a State of Emergency (ELA)

English Language Arts (Literacy Counts in an Emergency)

1. When a hurricane hits, there will be a need for communication: signs, letter writing campaigns, filing claims (written text) and calls(oral communication).

a) Energy Companies


c) Elective Officials

d) Insurance companies (adjusters)

e) Real Estate Professionals

f) Attorneys

g) Mechanics

h) Restoration Companies

2. Reading (Instruction Comprehension, Policy Objectives, Safety Measures)

a) Must learn about operational devices in your home

b) What does your policy say? Are you covered by all necessary policies?

c) Is your home safe or must you evacuate? Is it contaminated as a result of being damaged?

d) Where are the nearest shelters and/or warming areas?

e) Where can I take my pet?

f) Listing contents in the house that are damaged for insurance review

g) Mass transit and other services in use or not?

h) Weather maps, conditions and storm tracking

Listening Skills

1. When TV is out, we must learn to hone important details through listening to a radio message.

Parade of Related Content Areas

MST Standards(Math, Science and Technology)

1. Tracking the storm

2. The science of storms: Storm formation

3. Velocity of wind gusts (science and math integration)

4. Evacuation plans: Have teams design plans that could ultimately save lives (ELA and MST Integration).

5. Technology: How storms are tracked: What technology is used?


1. Charts and graphs of all kinds


Have students infuse the arts through musical theory to compose a piece that plays out a storm unfolding. What would it sound like? Students gifted in this area can use this literacy to express themselves and set the tone for learning on a very interesting level, communicating their thoughts through melody.


Have students with gifts in this area choreograph a dance that depicts a storm in order to communicate important ideas. Bodily-kinesthetic communication.


1. Creation of a mural that depicts the storm's path and areas of damage

2. An artistic interpretation of this type of force of nature

Social Studies

1. The history of storms

2. Regions impacted by these kinds of storms-geography, typography (aerial views of storms and damage), latitude, longitude, map skills

3. The political machine: How do politicians seize these issues as opportunities? How do they help? Or don't they? What do they control? What policies are borne from these challenging storms?

4. How do storms impact the economy?

5. Service learning: Volunteerism in a crisis

Physical Education

1. Training for survival: Agility that could save your life

Career and Development

All kinds of professions are necessary during the occurrence of and aftermath of a disaster.

Fire Dept





Real Estate Professionals

Restoration Crews


Energy Crews, Plumbers etc.

Insurance Industry Professionals

Doctors, Nurses, EMT


The Military

Newscasters, Weather and General Reporters, Newspaper Industry and Crews

Mass Transit Workers, Shipping Crews, Baymen, etc.

Restaurant Owners and Crews

Gasoline Operators, Distributors

Languages Other than English

1. Necessary translations into other languages to evacuate, file claims, and save lives


The branches of learning need to be relevant to the students we teach, and the learning needs to be authentic. It must be restored to the experience from which it has been abstracted. It needs to be psychologized; turned over, translated into immediate and individual experiencing within which it has its origin and significance (Dewey, 2001).

Dewey teaches us that students must not be strictly subjected to learning that is merely scientific in nature, coming out of a textbook, but rather, the learning should have practical application in the world they live in. The best way to achieve this practice is by administering an education that is constructivist based and student centered.


Submit a Comment

  • RobinGrosswirth23 profile imageAUTHOR

    Robin Grosswirth 

    3 years ago from New York

    prasetio30 Thank you for finding good in my curriculum. I fervently believe that learning should be connected, related to self and to society. We learn and retain through connectivity.

  • prasetio30 profile image


    5 years ago from malang-indonesia

    Very informative hub. You are a good teacher and I am glad to know you from HubPages. I think we have the same goal about how to created just not a smart student, but also how they care with society, environment and for the nation as well. Goo job and voted up!

    Best wishes, Prasetio

  • RobinGrosswirth23 profile imageAUTHOR

    Robin Grosswirth 

    5 years ago from New York

    Than you, Cathy. Amazing, you are really homespun, home schooling your children and making your own health gastronomies.

    I think for anyone, when you are using knowledge in a utilitarian way, it makes sense and sticks with you. The brain loves to connect in essential ways so growth occurs.

    Again, thanks.

  • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

    Ms. Immortal 

    5 years ago from NJ


    excellent information, I just love it.

    Being a home schooling mother I totally approve of this philosphy of learning, I have seen it work with my boys. It not only puts context to subjects but brings the subjects to life. The student soaks up information easily and best of all retains it when introduced in this fashion.

    Voted up!

  • RobinGrosswirth23 profile imageAUTHOR

    Robin Grosswirth 

    5 years ago from New York

    lrc7815 Thank you very much! My education was comprised of lectures and note taking, something educators term, passive learning. That kind of learning requires rote memorization and flushes out of the system fairly quickly. The kind of learning I love is called active learning where it is student centered and it requires learning by doing. This kind of learning has staying power and retention is attained as a result of this methodology. And, Dewey is my man too because he got it right.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 

    5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Robin, I am not an educator but Dewey sounds like a smart man to me. If I had kids in school today, I want want their teacher to teach with this principle. When I look back on my own education, a long, long, long time ago, most of what I was taught was utterly useless. I applaud you for this well written and comprehensive plan for preparing students for what seems like the inevitable.

  • RobinGrosswirth23 profile imageAUTHOR

    Robin Grosswirth 

    5 years ago from New York

    breakfastpop No one wants me. It appears that I am not worth hiring anymore (not employable). Thanks for the compliments though. As for Yiddish, I only recall a few words at this point.

  • breakfastpop profile image


    5 years ago

    This Jewish Brooklyn girl knows the meaning of Kvel. We need more teachers with your vision and enthusiasm.

  • RobinGrosswirth23 profile imageAUTHOR

    Robin Grosswirth 

    5 years ago from New York

    breakfastpop Thank you so much for the accolades. I always enjoyed teaching and most of all, creating lessons that they enjoyed. I used to Kvel (in Jewish language, yiddish, there is a great word, KVEL, meaning, get pleasure from) when they would work, busy as bees and enjoy the process. To me, the process of wanting to learn, searching for that data, was far more inspiring than just the arrival at the answer. In fact, in a book from Patricia Polacco, a favorite child author, she writes in her book, "The Bee Tree," that knowledge should be sought like the chasing of the bee to the bee tree and be as sweet as the honey. And so, that is what I tried to accomplish for all of my students at every age level because it was what was missing from my own education when growing up.

    So, thanks!

  • breakfastpop profile image


    5 years ago

    If only all teachers had your wisdom we would be graduating students prepared for real life. Up ,interesting, useful and awesome.

  • RobinGrosswirth23 profile imageAUTHOR

    Robin Grosswirth 

    5 years ago from New York

    IntegrityYes As always, thanks!

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    That is informative and well-written. I voted way up.

  • RobinGrosswirth23 profile imageAUTHOR

    Robin Grosswirth 

    5 years ago from New York

    pstraubie48 Thank you for taking the time to examine this lesson plan. That a seasoned educator like yourself found relevance in this lesson really says something.

    Thanks for the angels, could use a few right now.

  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 

    5 years ago from sunny Florida

    JD was a man after my heart. Providing opportunities to learn by doing was how my classes were organized. It was not what I said as much as it was what the kids learned by doing.

    Hurricanes are such a relevant topic as they affect so many lives almost every year. Having lived through many more than I care to remember, I can affirm that the information you share in this plan can serve as a jumping off place to further understanding and research in this area. Well done. Sending Angels your way :) ps

  • RobinGrosswirth23 profile imageAUTHOR

    Robin Grosswirth 

    5 years ago from New York

    Deborah Brooks Thanks for offering to share this lesson online.

  • Deborah Brooks profile image

    Deborah Brooks Langford 

    5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

    Robin this is so good and great information.. all of our children and adults need to read this.. so many people are so unprepared for emergency's..

    I will share this..


  • RobinGrosswirth23 profile imageAUTHOR

    Robin Grosswirth 

    5 years ago from New York

    billybuc Hi Bill. Thank you for always carving out the time to read my hubs. Thank you for the accolades and I figured we'd have Dewey in common. Practical life application is what you write about and it is an important philosophy of Dewey's. I hope someone finds the lesson ideas of interest.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, you, Bev and family!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    5 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I am a huge fan of Dewey and obviously you are as well. Anyone interested in truly educating and preparing students for the futures should adhere to Dewey's principles.

    Excellent hub, a must-read for any educator.

    Sending you best wishes this weekend.



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