What's the Plan, Stan? has suggestions for teaching and learning programmes for students in years 1–3. It focuses on emergency events and the impacts they could have on your community.
Before starting with these learning experiences, assess prior knowledge. Introduce new vocabulary and concepts.
You can use your literacy programme to see where your students’ needs are. Search Instructional Series or PM readers for books that you will already have in your school.
Students should learn the difference between hazards and emergencies. It helps them 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 we can recognise and remove hazards before anyone is in danger. Familiar examples of hazards include:
Discuss hazards at different locations such as at the beach, the park, at home or at school. Draw a classroom map and ask students to do the following.
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.
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.
Ask students to name emergency events and then focus on those that are common in New Zealand.
These following activities help students to explore what an emergency event is.
Write the six common 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. This could be anything at all that they would know, feel, 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:
Select photographs of emergency events to use in this activity. The National Emergency Management Agency has a photo library of New Zealand emergency events.
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, expose more of the photo. Throughout this process, ask guiding questions.
Look at the uncovered photographs. Discuss the students’ ideas and ask the following questions.
Students could do the following.
Tectonic plates cover the earth like a jigsaw puzzle. The movement of tectonic plates can create mountains, earthquakes and volcanoes. What they create depends on the 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. 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.
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.
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. Create a scavenger hunt for the students. Ask the students to predict what they think could have created each effect on the landscape.
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 or an electric fan. Experiment to see how lighter and stronger winds affect the objects. What happens to objects that are different weights or shapes? Make predictions and observations and record in writing or diagrams.
Start this experiment on a table that you can easily shake.
A good shake of the table will create an "earthquake" that results in a tsunami. This will give students an idea of how destructive tsunami can be.
To understand volcanoes 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.
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. 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.
Write the six common emergency events on the board or wall, and give the class with pictures of each event. Have pictures of 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 IMPACTS team are just like the students. 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 to construct their ideas.
As a class, analyse the suggestions and try to pick out the ones that could be done quickly and easily. Ask students to look at the IMPACTS team 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:
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 students to ask “What if?” questions too. Often they may ask something you haven’t thought about.
This is a good way to find out how students 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. The best way to feel better is to be prepared and know what to do.
Remind 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 the following.
Ask students to develop a visual checklist to take home. Emphasise 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.
Here are some follow-up activities students could do.
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 IMPACTS superhero to groups in your class for the emergency impact day. Here are some things your students could do on the day.
For information on how to prepare your home and protect your whānau, visit the Be Prepared section of the Earthquake Commission's website.
Take a virtual field trip to explore some of our natural hazards and emergencies in Aotearoa.
Just search for 'emergency management' in the Inquiry Topics drop down to find past field trips about emergencies.Take a Virtual Field Trip (learnz.org.nz)
Read this story about earthquakes in English and te reo Māori.
Read this story about floods in English and te reo Māori.
Read this story about storms in English and te reo Māori.
Read this story about volcanic eruptions in English and te reo Māori.