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Natural Disasters: General Introduction
Why study natural disasters?

This unit is an exciting integration of geography and Spanish on a topic of interest to many students, even more so after the tsunami tragedy of December 2004, in the Indian Ocean. In this unit, students will study the physical geographical phenomena that impact human settlement and cultural patterns, and the ways in which humans react to these natural phenomena, which are present in all parts of the globe.

Students will explore key important geographical questions:

  • Where are the most likely places on earth for natural disasters to occur?
  • What natural disasters are especially common in the different regions of the Spanish-speaking world?
  • What impact have these natural phenomena had on the affected societies, physically and culturally?
The customizable activities presented in these units allow teachers to personalize the topics for their students by examining a variety of natural disasters. At the same time, students receive linguistic input and produce output on crucial Advanced level language functions such as detailed descriptions, comparisons, and past narration, in addition to recycling lower-level functions (e.g., asking information questions).

Objectives Students will be able to...
  Geography Standards:
  • use maps to analyze spatial distribution of human population and natural disasters
  • describe the physical, human, and cultural characteristics of places
  • use geography to plan for the future
  Second Language Standards
  • describe and compare location, physical characteristics of places and people
  • narrate in past and present time frames
  • make suggestions
  • ask information questions

Summative Assessment

Students will (1) describe in detail a natural disaster chosen at random and devise a plan for first response, including public service announcements, family plans,. etc. Students can also (2) design a new theme park around the concept of a particular natural disaster (volcano, earthquake,. etc.) and present it to the class.

Activity 1 Latitude and longitude La latitud y la longitud Download Word version
Activity 2 Climactic zones Las zonas climáticas Download Word version
Activity 3 How do we measure the weather? ¿Cómo medimos el tiempo? Download Word version
Activity 4 What is a volcano? ¿Qué es un volcán? Download Word version
Activity 5 Reports about disasters Reportajes sobre los desastres Download Word version
Activity 6 Why do people live in such dangerous places? ¿Por qué vivimos en lugares peligrosos? Download Word version
Activity 7 Legend: Popo and Izta (Mexican volcanoes) Leyenda: Popo e Izta Download Word version
Activity 8 An original legend Una leyenda original Download Word version
Activity 9 Natural disasters in the news Desastres naturales en las noticias Download Word version
Activity 10 Things you need to survive a natural disaster Las cosas necesarias para sobrevivir un desastre Download Word version
Activity 11 Plan of action for a natural disaster Un plan de acción en caso de desastre natural Download Word version
Activity 12 Natural disaster theme park Un parque temático Download Word version
Activity 13 Vocabulary! ¡Tanto vocabulario! Download Word version
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