Activity 1: Disasters
All grade levels
Duration: 1 lesson
In this introductory activity, students will
explore natural disasters and human tragedies.
To introduce the Halifax Explosion
History, Social Studies
Write the word "Disaster" on the board
or chart paper. Ask students to offer definitions and examples of current
and historical disasters and note their responses. Discuss the difference
between natural disasters and human-caused tragedies, and why sometimes,
like the Titanic, disasters can be both.
Distribute the download sheet Disaster Brainstorming
to pairs of students and allow them five minutes to complete the organizer.
Review the results of the brainstorming with the whole class.
Outline the Opportunity
Ask: What Canadian natural disasters or human-caused
tragedies can you name? Record responses on the board. Direct students
to the topic The Halifax Explosion on the CBC Halifax Explosion Web site.
Allow students 10 minutes to browse the site. Students should note any
new or interesting information not mentioned by the class.
Revisit and Reflect
Have students refer to their notes and the notes
on the board and ask: What disasters or tragedies do you consider the
most alarming or interesting? What does it mean for those who witness
and survive? Did you know about the Halifax Explosion? Why does it fit
the general description of a disaster?
Students can investigate the stories in the
Disasters and Tragedies section of the CBC Radio and Television Archives
Web site. Older students may wish to read one of the following novels
about the Halifax Explosion: Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan, or Burden
of Desire by Robert MacNeil.