ALEX Lesson Plan


Masters of Disaster (High School)

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Paige Craig
System: Madison County
School: Buckhorn High School
Author:Davina Mann
System: Madison County
School: Owens Cross Roads School
Author:Keith George
System: College/University
School: Auburn University at Montgomery
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 32647


Masters of Disaster (High School)


Students will research natural disasters and their impact on people.  They will work in teams to design a disaster preparedness guide to share with the community to reduce the impact of a natural disaster utilizing various creativity apps on the iPad.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 9-12
Earth and Space Science
15 ) Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to verify that weather (e.g., temperature, relative humidity, air pressure, dew point, adiabatic cooling, condensation, precipitation, winds, ocean currents, barometric pressure, wind velocity) is influenced by energy transfer within and among the atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere.

a. Analyze patterns in weather data to predict various systems, including fronts and severe storms.

b. Use maps and other visualizations to analyze large data sets that illustrate the frequency, magnitude, and resulting damage from severe weather events in order to predict the likelihood and severity of future events.

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
E12.10b: This energy transfer is influenced by dynamic processes such as cloud cover, atmospheric gases, and Earth's rotation, as well as static conditions such as the positions of mountain ranges, oceans, seas, and lakes.

Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Analyzing and Interpreting Data; Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns; Systems and System Models; Energy and Matter
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Systems
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Compare and contrast the means of describing weather conditions.
  • Classify the variety of instruments that measure weather conditions.
  • Use the concept of energy flow to show how air masses and fronts create weather.
  • Analyze a sequence of weather maps for a region over time to show the consistency of weather models.
  • Depict graphically the flow of energy throughout the stages of thunderstorm development.
  • Communicate information detailing Earth's major climate zones.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • weather
  • air temperature
  • humidity
  • fronts
  • air pressure
  • storms
  • precipitation
  • wind direction
  • wind speed
  • air masses
  • barometer
  • thermometer
  • anemometer
  • wind vane
  • rain gauge
  • psychrometer
  • front
  • warm front
  • cold front
  • air mass
  • highs
  • lows
  • isobar
  • tornado
  • lightning
  • thunder
  • hurricane
  • climate zone
  • temperate
  • tropical
  • polar
Students know:
  • Weather is the condition of the atmosphere at a given place and time.
  • Weather and climate are shaped by complex interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things.
  • Energy is redistributed globally through ocean currents and also through atmospheric circulation.
  • Sunlight heats Earth's surface, which in turn heats the atmosphere.
  • Temperature patterns, together with the Earth's rotation and the configuration of continents and oceans, control the large-scale patterns of atmospheric circulation.
  • Winds gain energy and water vapor content as they cross hot ocean regions, which can lead to tropical storms.
  • Prediction Center maps provide weather forecasts and climate patterns based on analyses of observational data.
Students are able to:
  • Analyze data in patterns to predict the outcome of an event.
  • Analyze data models to predict outcome of an event.
Students understand that:
  • The complex patterns of the changes and the movement of water in the atmosphere, determined by winds, landforms, and ocean temperatures and currents, are major determinants of local weather patterns.
  • Weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings protect life and property.
  • Weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings protect life and property.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.ESS.HS.15- Identify weather conditions, including temperature, wind speed, humidity, and severe weather events (e.g., tornadoes, hurricanes, floods).

Digital Literacy and Computer Science
DLIT (2018)
Grade: 9-12
R5) Locate and curate information from digital sources to answer research questions.

Unpacked Content
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students will:
  • locate and curate information from digital sources to answer given research questions.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • curate
Students know:
  • how to find valid sources to answer a given research topic.
  • how to cite sources.
Students are able to:
  • locate valid digital resources to answer given research questions.
Students understand that:
  • a great deal of information is available.
  • it is important to validate information and to cite the source of information.
Digital Literacy and Computer Science
DLIT (2018)
Grade: 9-12
R6) Produce, review, and revise authentic artifacts that include multimedia using appropriate digital tools.

Unpacked Content
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students will:
  • produce a multimedia artifact.
  • review artifacts created by others.
  • revise an artifact based on peer or teacher feedback.
Students know:
  • feedback is important in a design process.
Students are able to:
  • create a multimedia artifact.
  • critique the work of others.
  • revise their work based on feedback received.
Students understand that:
  • much like the writing process, design of a multimedia artifact nets the best results when creators have the opportunity to be given feedback and revise as needed.
Digital Literacy and Computer Science
DLIT (2018)
Grade: 9-12
25) Utilize a variety of digital tools to create digital artifacts across content areas.

Unpacked Content
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students will:
  • use digital tools to create digital artifacts across content areas.
  • seek and use feedback to revise digital artifacts.
Students know:
  • how to use a variety of digital tools.
  • how to use a digital tool to create a digital artifact.
  • the appropriate use of digital tools and artifacts for specific content areas.
Students are able to:
  • use a variety of digital tools.
  • create digital artifacts using a variety of digital tools.
  • appropriately match digital artifacts and content areas for effective communication.
Students understand that:
  • digital tools are used to create digital artifacts that can be used for effective communication of competency across content areas.
Digital Literacy and Computer Science
DLIT (2018)
Grade: 9-12
31) Create interactive data visualizations using software tools to help others understand real-world phenomena.

Unpacked Content
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students will:
  • collect data to depict real-world phenomena.
  • create displays to share collected data.
  • create interactive data visualizations using software tools to help others understand real-world phenomena.
Students know:
  • data can be communicated with visual representations.
  • tools exists to share data via interactive visualizations.
  • how to create interactive visualizations to represent real-world phenomena.
Students are able to:
  • gather data.
  • share data using an interactive visualization tool.
Students understand that:
  • visualizations of data can be much more powerful than a database full of numbers.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will:

  • collaborate with others to complete a project
  • use critical thinking skills to solve real world problems
  • communicate effectively with others
  •  be able to explain how weather patterns affect climate

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Essential Question:  How can we plan and prepare to minimize the impact on people in the unfortunate event of a natural disaster? 

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Masters of Disaster Project Rubric (attached)

Masters of Disaster Project Requirements Handout for Students (attached)

Technology Resources Needed:

Internet Access

iPad2 or higher, at least one per student group

iMovie App

iMovie App Tutorial:

Inspiration Maps Lite App

Inspiration Maps Lite App YouTube Video Tutorial:

Google Forms Tutorial: 


Teacher should be familiar with a recent disaster that occurred either near enough, or was newsworthy enough, to use as a point of reference for the students (Remember when. . .)

Students and teacher should be familiar with the process of taking video with the iPad.

Students and teacher should be familiar with iPad apps iMovie and Inspiration Maps Lite, as well as Google Forms.


1.  The teacher will introduce the unit by showing a short video clip related to a type of disaster. An example video is the video "Extreme Weather: Tornadoes 101". If other types of disasters are more common or have occurred more recently, consider one of the following:

2.  Follow the video with a teacher-led discussion that explores the experiences of the students related to disasters.

  • What disasters have occurred in the lives of the students?
  • What were the results and effects of the disaster?
  • Were there any injuries?

3.  Wrap up the discussion with the introduction of the essential question: How can we plan and prepare to minimize the impact on people in the unfortunate event of a natural disaster?

4.  Challenge students to create a product (ex: Public Service Announcement) to be shared with the entire community that will educate residents on what to do in advance of a disaster to minimize the effects.  Inform them that they will need to create a product that can be shared easily and one that will work on a variety of devices.

5.  Introduce (or reintroduce) the iMovie app.  Remind students of the process of recording video using the iPad.  For a brief, but step-by-step tutorial of iMovie, go to

6. Allow students to select a type of disaster that they wish to educate others about.  Provide them with the Masters of Disaster Product Rubric as well as the requirements outlined below.

7.  Students will utilize print and electronic sources to gather and evaluate the latest information regarding the possible effects on their community in the event of a disaster of the type selected.  Students will outline these possibilities and research the best preventative measures and identify all possible preparations that could be made to reduce the negative effects.  Students will use Inspiration Maps Lite, a concept mapping tool, to create an organizer to plan the topics to be included in their final product.  A tutorial video for Inspiration Maps Lite can be found here.

8. Students will identify, contact and interview an expert in a field related to their chosen topic.  The interview could be related to background information or could be included as part of the preparedness efforts.  The research gathered will be converted into a script that could be included in iMovie, or used in the text content that accompanies the iMovie video.

9.  Students will use the iPad to create, gather and organize all video, photo, text, and audio elements of the project.

10.  Students will use the iMovie app and the resources gathered to create a project that includes the following:

  • The end product will be a minimum of four minutes and a maximum of six minutes in length.
  • The product will include text captions.
  • The content of the product must be up-to-date, accurate, and informative.
  • The purpose of the product is to inform the community of the possibility of the disaster, the negative effects of the disaster, and the preparation efforts that could be completed in advance to minimize these negative effects.
  • The sources of information contained in the product must be cited and available as a print resource to accompany the product.

11.  Students will share the product with one other team for peer review, and evaluate the feedback provided to make improvements and/or changes.

12.  Students will produce a final copy of the product in iMovie format and share it with the teacher for electronic distribution to the community.

13.  Students will create a short survey using Google Forms that will be provided electronically to community members to complete.  This survey should include no more than five questions designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the product just as might occur in the workplace. (A tutorial on creating Google Forms can be found here.)

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Assessment Strategies

Students will be assessed throughout the project on their ability to work well together and to effectively solve the presented problem.  

The product will be reviewed by a peer group during the creation process with each group having the opportunity to make additions, deletions and/or corrections.

The final product will be evaluated by the teacher using the Masters of Disaster Product Rubric (attached).

After presentation to the community, the community members will be asked to complete a short survey on the effectiveness of the product.


Students that display mastery of any aspect of the project will be encouraged to extend the project by incorporating additional resources or providing the end product in additional formats (create a podcast based on the product, create additional print materials, etc.).


Teams will be determined by the teacher taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of each student.

Tutorials are available for the iMovie App, Inspiration Maps Lite App and Google Forms.

Project timeline may be extended.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.