What's the Plan, Stan? has suggestions for teaching and learning programmes for students in years 1–3, focusing on emergency events and the impacts they could have on your community.
These lesson ideas provide opportunities for students in years 1–3 to:
These learning experiences are designed to be adapted to your local area and school curriculum. Although you can follow them in a sequential order, the aim is for the learning to be student led, so the resource is designed to allow flexibility.
Find times for practising drills relevant to your emergency focus. Before the drills explain why they are necessary and why each drill is different depending on the emergency. The time and frequency of these drills will follow school policies and procedures.
Before starting with these learning experiences, assess your students’ prior knowledge and introduce new vocabulary and concepts.
Your literacy programme, especially guided reading, can provide opportunities to see where your students’ needs are. Search Instructional Series or PM readers for books that you will already have in your school.
Learning the difference between hazards and emergencies helps students understand the gravity of a situation and how they should react. Keep the examples and scenarios familiar and simple.
A hazard is a danger or risk. Often hazards can be recognised and removed before anyone is in danger. Familiar examples of hazards include, a floor that is wet from cleaning, toys strewn across the floor, and a table with a wobbly leg.
Discuss hazards at different locations such as at the beach, the park, at home, or school. Draw a classroom map and ask students to:
Students could complete a map to show hazards on their way to school. What is the difference between your maps? Hang the maps side by side to look at frequency of hazards, and who can help you deal with them.
An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action – preferably with the help of an adult.
Talk with students about who responds to emergencies and the roles they play. Pay a visit to an emergency responder or ask them to come to you. It is particularly relevant if you have a member of your school community involved in the emergency services and/or if there is a volunteer service in your area.
An emergency event that happens to a lot of people at the same time is sometimes called a disaster. This is a sudden accident or a natural catastrophe that causes great damage or loss of life.
Watch Natural Disasters, a video clip of still images of disasters that are suitable for this age group.
Ask students to name emergency events and then focus on those that are classified as common in New Zealand:
Write the 6 New Zealand emergency events on a strip of coloured paper.
Hang a piece of paper from the strip and collect student ideas in words or pictures – anything at all that they know, feel, or might see, smell, or hear if one of these things happened. You could write or print out their ideas, in text or pictures.
Each of these strips of ideas are great oral language or writing prompts to use throughout the learning.
Photo disclosure is an effective strategy for assessing prior knowledge, addressing misconceptions, and stimulating discussion and critical thinking.
Select photographs of emergency events to use in this activity.
Use blank paper to cover part of each photo. The part of the photograph students can see will give clues, but not the whole story. Ask students to describe what they think the whole photo shows. As they talk, gradually expose more of the photo. Throughout this process, ask guiding questions, such as:
Look at the uncovered photographs. Discuss the students’ ideas and ask the following questions:
Tectonic plates cover the earth like a jigsaw puzzle. The movement of tectonic plates can create mountains, earthquakes, volcanoes, depending on which way the plates are moving.
Use a slinky toy to show how the Earth’s movement during an earthquake creates “waves”.
With one person holding each end of the slinky, stretch it out so that it is lying flat on the floor or on a table. To make a wave, one person quickly pushes and then pulls the slinky toward and then away from the other person. The other students can observe the wave as it travels along the slinky to the other end, and potentially back again. You can also quickly move the slinky from side to side. The wave will travel along the slinky once again to the other person and may turn around and travel back.
To have an understanding of volcanoes and earthquakes, you need to understand a little about the structure of the Earth.
Turn the classic baking soda and vinegar volcano into something more realistic by creating a cross section view.
Note: to make this experiment more realistic, cut a hole in the bottle and insert some fine plastic tubing. Have this tubing come out of the back of your volcano, and push the vinegar through it with a squeezy bottle or a syringe. Add a small light piece of paper over your volcano crater, so that the students can see the eruption pushing through the Earth’s crust.
Start this experiment on a table that can easily be shaken.
A good shake of the table will create an "earthquake" that results in a tsunami. This will provide children with an idea of how destructive tsunamis can be, as the houses become waterlogged and the sandy ground shifts.
Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Past Tsunami Events – Find out where recent tsunami events occurred and investigate patterns and make predictions.
Christchurch City Libraries catalogue search – Resources about tsunami.
How Stuff Works, How Tsunamis Work – Animations showing the movement of tsunami waves.
STEMWORKS, Tsunamis & Floods Activities – Learning experiences that focus on floods and tsunamis.
“The Hungry Wave” by Lani Wendt Young. School Journal, Level 3, February 2012. Teacher support material is available.
“The Race” by Rose Quilter. School Journal, Part 3, No. 1, 2011. Teacher support material is available.
“The Strength of Roots” by Marisa Maepu. School Journal, Level 4, March 2012.
Tsunamis 101 – Part of a series of natural disaster videos produced by National Geographic.
Use this erosion experiment to investigate how weathering and erosion can cause landslides.
Go for a weathering and erosion walk around your school or community to see what you find. Using photographs or illustrations of erosion and weathering, like cracks in the ground, or movement of soil or sand, create a scavenger hunt for the students. Ask the students to predict what they think could have created each effect on the landscape.
The most common cause of flooding in New Zealand is heavy rain. To show how vulnerable houses are in a flood, try this demonstration with your students.
There are many parts to a storm and the way it can damage property and injure people.
To experiment with wind, set up a learning table. Ask the students to bring in small objects, and supplement them with some of your own. Have a variety of light and heavy objects, ones that will roll and some that won’t, and so on, for example:
To create wind, help the students fold some paper fans and provide large straws, bubble guns without bubble mixture, and even an electric fan. Experiment to see how the objects are affected by lighter or stronger winds. What happens to objects that are different weights or shapes? Make predictions and observations and record in writing or diagrams.
What could be the possible impact of an emergency event to people, buildings, and the environment?
Write the 6 emergency events on the board or wall, and provide the class with pictures of each event – before, during and after. Decide where each picture fits and what is happening in each one. Identify and discuss features of the land, people, and buildings.
Explain that the I.M.P.A.C.T team are just like the students, and that they can have a big impact when they get ready for emergencies, and help other people plan too.
Explore each impact separately. Divide the class into groups to record their thinking in response to the following questions:
Encourage creative and critical thinking – students could sketch some of their solutions, or have materials like playdough, pipe cleaners, egg cartons and tinfoil to construct their ideas.
As a class, analyse the suggestions and try to pick out the ones that could be put into place quickly and easily. Then ask students to look at the What’s the Plan, Stan? homepage and see what they can find to help answer the questions – the superheroes will give them a clue.
Highlight one impact a week in your classroom for six weeks. Every week, students can design a way to share information about that impact with the community. Consult with the students about how you could feature the impact to get the most people looking at the information, and most importantly, how they can engage the school community in getting these messages across.
Revisit your impact ideas by playing the “What if?” game. Start by asking a question, for example:
Record students’ ideas, discuss what is realistic, and decide on the best solutions. Encourage the students to ask “What if?” questions too. Often they may ask something you haven’t thought about, but that is important from the perspective of a child.
This is a good way to find out how the children are feeling. Explain that it’s normal to feel scared about what might happen, but that the likelihood of an emergency event happening is very slim, and the best way to feel better is to be prepared and know what to do.
Remind the students that practising routines in a calm manner will help their brains remember what to do when they feel panicked. Practising both at home and at school will help them to know what to do wherever they are.
As a class, explore and discuss:
Ask students to develop a visual checklist to take home (emphasising the items like phone numbers that do not have a cost).
Challenge each student to spend a week or two gathering together the items needed and bring back the completed list.
Develop a plan and prepare for impacts as if your class were all living at school. What would you need? Why?
Challenge other classrooms in your school or local area to do the same, and share your work.
As follow-up activities, students could:
Share your learning from What’s the Plan, Stan? by organising an emergency impact day.
Invite whānau and the wider community, including the local newspaper, as well as other classes from your school.
Assign an I.M.P.A.C.T superhero to groups in your class for the emergency impact day. On the day your students could:
This interactive map will let you know the history of emergency events in your local area. Although the impacts for these events will likely be the same, it’s important to know what has happened and where - and then how to be better prepared.
Take a virtual field trip to explore the latest and best practice recommended for you and your school during an emergency.
This trip took place in 2016, however all of the resources are there for you to use in your classroom. Keep an eye out for more Virtual Field Trips supported by EQC and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.