Before Strategy/Engage: 20 minutes
1. Show students the video clip from YouTube: "Caving at Neversink Pit, Alabama" (2:11). After students watch the video clip, pose the question, "How did Neversink Pit form?" At this point, accept all student answers.
Note: There are additional pictures and information about Neversink Pit on this website: "This is Undeniable Proof That Everyone Must Visit the Most Photographed Spot in Alabama" from onlyinyourstate.com.
2. Students will need a copy of the article "Sinkholes: When the Ground Collapses" from whyfiles.org. Alternatively, the students could access this article on an internet-capable device.
3. Before students begin to read, tell them that Neversink Pit is actually a limestone sinkhole. As students read the article independently or with a partner, students should write the answers to the following questions on their notebook paper. Alternatively, the students could highlight the answers in the text.
- What dangers do sinkholes pose?
Possible Answer: Sinkholes can kill and injure people when they occur without warning.
- What areas of our country are most vulnerable to sinkholes?
Possible Answer: About 20% of our country lies on karst topography, which is soluble rocks, such as a gypsum, limestone, or salt. The states most at risk are Florida, Alabama, Texas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennesee, and Pennsylvania.
- Are sinkholes a natural occurrence, or do humans play a role in their formation?
Possible Answer: Sinkholes can form due to natural geologic processes. However, humans can create the conditions required for sinkhole formation by underground mining, pumping groundwater, and adding groundwater to the water table through sewers.
- What should people do to protect themselves from possible sinkhole damage?
Possible Answer: People who live in sinkhole-prone areas should inspect their property for signs of a possible sinkhole collapse, such as cracks in the walls and foundation of a building, doors and windows that refuse to close, or settling around the foundation of the building.
4. After students finish reading the article, the teacher should lead a class discussion on students' answers to the questions.
During Strategy/Explore & Explain: 60+ minutes
1. If students have access to a digital device, they can complete this step independently. If the students do not have access to digital devices, the teacher can show the website on the board. Go to "Alabama Sinkholes" from ArcGIS, click "Open in Map Viewer", then type your city's name into the search box. This interactive map will allow students to view the sinkholes in/near their city. If you are unable to find any sinkholes close to your city, you can "zoom out" until a sinkhole comes into view.
2. Tell students they will research the causes and effects of sinkholes in the state of Alabama and create a video Public Service Announcement (PSA) to raise awareness of sinkhole dangers.
3. Students will need access to the articles listed in the materials section. Students may use a printed copy of the article or access the article online using an internet-capable device.
4. Students will read the articles while completing the Sinkholes in Alabama Graphic Organizer (see attachments). This graphic organizer will require students to research both the natural and human-made causes and effects of sinkholes in Alabama.
"Sinkholes in Alabama" from the Geological Survey of Alabama (GSA)
"Special Report: Sinkhole Shock" from WSFA Montgomery
"Why Sinkholes Open Up" from National Geographic
"Sinkholes" from United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Note: Depending on students’ abilities, the teacher may wish to read the articles and complete the graphic organizer as a whole class, or model this skill one time before allowing students to read the articles independently or with a partner or small group. In addition, the teacher may wish to require students to cite the articles used during the lesson in MLA or APA format to include in a bibliography page for students' final project.
After Strategy-Explain & Elaborate-60+ minutes
1. Before students begin to create their PSAs, the teacher may wish to show examples of professionally-created PSAs. The following website provides a list of PSA campaigns from the Ad Council.
"Our Campaigns" from adcouncil.org
2. The students should be split into partners or small groups for the next portion of the lesson. There are many options for groupings, depending on the teacher's needs. If students are grouped into partners, one student can film, while the other student presents the PSA, then the students can swap roles. If students are divided into small groups (3-5 students), each student can be assigned a particular role in the PSA (videographer, actor, writer, etc).
3. Before students begin work on creating their PSA, the teacher should present students with the grading rubric (see attachments).
4. Students should begin by writing a script for their PSA, being sure to include facts and details from their prior research. In their script, students should plan what props they would like to use during the PSA (such as pictures, photographs, maps, quotes, etc).
5. After completing their scripts, the students and teacher should check the script using the "Sinkholes in Alabama PSA Checklist" (see attachments). The teacher may wish to copy the checklist front and back, and use one side as a student self-check and one side as a formative assessment (for the teacher to provide feedback).
6. After receiving feedback from the teacher via the checklist, the students should have an opportunity to revise and edit their scripts as needed before beginning filming.
7. After the students have completed the final draft of their scripts, the students should film their PSAs. Ideally, after filming, the teacher would show the entire class each student's or each group's final PSA.