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Survival Experts

Teacher Lesson





  • Arts & Humanities
    Language Arts
  • Educational Technology
  • Health



3-5, 6-8



Brief Description

Students take on the role of survival experts as they research and produce brochures or guides to educate others about what to do in the event of a natural disaster.






  • learn how to survive natural disasters.
  • use print and/or electronic resources as they research information and safety precautions and tips related to a specific natural disaster.
  • use technology to create an informative survival guide about one type of natural disaster (optional).
  • share their research with their classmates and families.



disaster, earthquake, flood, hurricane, natural, safety, survival, tornado, volcano, weather



Materials Needed


  • computers with Internet access (optional: lesson can be adapted if computers are unavailable)
  • computer programs for drawing, writing, and creating brochures (optional: lesson can be adapted if computers are unavailable)
  • books, magazines, and newspapers with articles and information on natural disasters
  • sample brochures or survival guides from community or disaster agencies


Lesson Plan


Introduce students to this project by creating a letter that announces the lesson idea; the letter should invite students to share their survival skills and expertise by creating a guide for surviving a natural disaster. You might create a simple [Your Name or Your School Name] Advertising Agency logo for your letterhead so it looks like the letter is coming from an actual advertising agency. Print copies of the letter, and distribute to students at the start of class.

Review with students other safety and educational brochures from local social and community service agencies; discuss what makes those brochures valuable, readable, and appealing. Talk about some of the elements the brochures include.

If students have computer access, demonstrate how to create a three-column, two-sided brochure with available software. Many programs have assistants or wizards that will help you accomplish this with ease. The demonstration should include inserting graphics into the document.

Discuss the project's grading method or rubric with students.

At this time, teachers will need to assign students a disaster to research, or students will need to decide which disaster they would like to research. See the list of Suggested Survival Guide Topics below.

Make a class list of the elements students might include in their brochures. The list of Brochure Requirements and Options below might serve as a guide.

Next, provide time for students to research their assigned disasters. Students will use print and library resources and, if computer access is available, Web sites. See the list of Suggested Web Sites below.

Talk with students about how they might also include an "in-person" or "first-hand" survivor resource. Allow time for additional research outside of class for this. Students might contact in person, by phone, or by email or letter a person who has had a first-hand experience dealing with disaster. They might get in touch with an expert in the topic who words for a community agency.

If computer access is available, provide students with two hours of computer time to create their brochures and to spell check and print them.

Allow time for students to share their work. Students will hand in their work for a grade; they should turn in with their brochures a bibliography of resources they used.

Display brochures on a bulletin board.

Suggested Survival Guide Topics

  • an avalanche.
  • a mountain climbing accident.
  • being stranded in a desert.
  • a flood.
  • a tornado.
  • a tsunami.
  • a hurricane.
  • a forest fire.
  • an earthquake.
  • a volcanic eruption.
  • being capsized in a boat or ship due to weather.
  • getting lost while hiking in woods.


Brochure Requirements and Options

  • brochure title
  • basic information
  • tips
  • tools
  • clothing
  • equipment
  • food
  • frequently asked questions (FAQ)
  • dangers or challenges


Suggested Web Sites
The following sites offer a starting point. Students might do an Internet search to locate additional sites related to their specific topics.




Assess students
  • through observation during research periods.
  • on how many required elements they include in their brochures.
  • on how many optional elements they include.
  • on the variety of resources (bibliography) used.
  • on following proper citation format.
  • on originality and format of brochure -- including correct spelling and grammar.



Submitted By


VaReane Heese, Springfield Elementary School, Omaha, Nebraska


Updated 11/06/2012



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