Teacher Experience: “Emergency Services Coordinator: Earthquakes” for 4th Grade Science Students
A Defined STEM Learning Experience From:
Fourth-Grade Science/ STEM Teacher
Summit 104 (IL)
Emergency Services Coordinator: Earthquakes
Here’s What We Did:
For this task, my students were acting as emergency services directors in an earthquake-prone region. Their job was to determine how to make the city safer during an earthquake by recommending different materials and presenting new ideas.
Students started with research on major earthquake events in the last 150 years. They took notes on the Richter scale readings, costs of damage, and factors making the earthquake historical. They gave a detailed explanation of why a specific area is prone to earthquakes and provided recommendations for how to stay safe when an earthquake occurs.
In small groups, students used their findings to create a timeline of events over the last 150 years, create a mock newspaper article from one major earthquake, and create a working webpage where all the information they learned would be compiled in one place.
Why Defined STEM Was the Perfect Fit:
This task was absolutely a great topic for students to study, and I had their undivided attention the entire time. As many of them are interested in learning about natural disasters and seeing the devastation that follows, it hit home for many of them to learn how and why earthquakes happen. I also added a local correlation to the lesson by having them figure out if an earthquake was possible in our hometown. Additionally, the thought of students in the fourth grade designing their own webpage really had them really fired up.