We teach a thematic unit on Natural Disasters in our ninth-grade English curriculum. These classes include both native-English speakers and advanced English Language Learners. Since it’s the first unit we teach in the fall semester, I thought it would be good to use that topic for another “The Best…” list.
In order to make it on this list, the sites have to be accessible to English Language Learners and also provide engaging content.
You might also be interested in A Compilation Of “The Best…” Lists About Natural Disasters.
Here are my picks for The Best Websites For Learning About Natural Disasters (not in any order of preference):
There are two online games that students can play and help prevent disasters: one is Stop Disasters.
Disaster Detector is an online interactive game from the Smithsonian that looks like it would be an excellent game for students to play who are learning about natural disasters, and it seems surprisingly accessible to English Language Learners.
Players had to plan what they think would be the most effective defenses for a community facing various natural disasters and then see how effective they are when the hurricane, earthquake, etc. hits.
Brainpop has several excellent closed-captions movies about various natural disasters. You have to pay for a subscription (and it’s well worth the price), but you can also get a free trial.
The CBBC Newsround has a very accessible guide to Hurricane Katrina.
Shake, Rattle and Slide is an exceptional interactive from the University of Illinois Extension focused on volcanoes, earthquakes and glaciers. It provides audio support for the text, and is very accessible to English Language Learners. There are number of neat online activities on the site,
“Disaster Hot Zones Of The World” is a very interesting and accessible world map showing which disasters are most likely to occur where on the earth.
What Would You Put in Your Emergency ‘Go-Bag’? is from The New York Times Learning Network.
Image source: www.emergency-management-degree.org
How To Survive An Avalanche is from Mental Floss.
The popular website Weather Underground has a collection of very useful infographics. I’m embedding a couple of examples below:
Earthquakes, floods and volcanoes: The most disaster-prone places in America is an interactive from The Washington Post.
The Associated Press has a series of twenty-six short videos describing the forces behind multiple natural disasters.
I’ve embedded two of them below.
This NY Times video is barely over one minute, but it’s a very useful one if you, like we do at our school, teach a unit on Natural Disasters.
Here’s how The Times describes it:
Every year, the United States foots a multi-billion dollar bill for the economic and insured losses incurred from natural disasters. In 2014, the costs reached $25-billion with certain regions of the country more prone to calamity than others. So what disasters are the most common and how much do they cost? This video breaks down the natural disasters by region.
The Washington Post has published an impressive interactive infographic mapping the most expensive – in dollars and lives – natural disasters that have occurred in the United States.
NBC Learn has new a ten video collection titled When Nature Strikes: Science of Natural Hazards.
The Places in the U.S. Where Disaster Strikes Again and Again is a excellent interactive from The New York Times.
The Washington Post has published a series of maps headlined Mapping America’s wicked weather and deadly disasters. They show where different natural disasters, such as tornadoes and wildfires, have tended to occur over the past ten years.
As usual, feedback is welcome.
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