CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers - Red River Rising: What Would You Do?

Social Studies
1 lesson
To examine how a natural disaster affects humans
In this introductory activity, students examine the human impact of a major flood and list items they would take and leave behind in such a disaster.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ask the students: Have there been times when you've been forced to make a quick decision? How did you feel? What kinds of decisions did you make? If you had more time, would you have decided differently?

Outline The Opportunity

Have students explore the topic Red River Rising: Manitoba Floods on the CBC Digital Archives website. They should view the clips "A city submerged," "A state of emergency" and "One family's flood battle," and take note of the forced evacuations and the impact they had on people.

Divide the class into small groups and present the students with the following problem: You have one hour to evacuate your home. A flood is about to crest in your area and your home will be under water soon. You are allowed one average-sized suitcase to carry whatever you need to survive a week. Anything left behind will likely be destroyed. List the items you will place in your suitcase, why you chose each item, and at least three items you will leave behind and why.

Reflect and Revisit

Have a spokesperson from each group present the group's list to the class. Record similarities and noticeable differences on the board or chart paper and discuss as a class why such similarities and differences exist. Create a class chart of the items the class thought were the most important to take. Was there consensus on these items? Why do students think this is so?


Students can create an emergency evacuation plan with their family. They can use the class chart to guide their discussion at home of what to take and what to leave.

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