Teacher Information


This lesson was developed as part of the Warrensburg, Missouri School District's WebQuest Academy project, a State funded Competitive Technology Grant.

This lesson is about natural disasters; the causes and effects and ways to help people in the event of a natural disaster.



This lesson is anchored in seventh grade language arts. The lesson can easily be extended to additional grades and subjects or be used as an interdisciplinary unit.

To begin the lesson students read "When the Earth Shakes" by Patricia Lauber from Elements of Literature, First Course (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1997) and they will need to have an understanding of the difference between cause and effect. If you do not have access to the above story, any nonfiction story that is about a natural disaster and deals easily with cause and effect will work.


Curriculum Standards

Communication Arts Standards addressed

1. speaking and writing standard English
2. reading and evaluating nonfiction works and material
3. writing formally and informally

Show-Me Performance Standards addressed
Students will

1. conduct research to answer questions and evaluate information and ideas
2. plan and make written, oral and visual presentations for a variety of purposes and audiences



This WebQuest will take approximately three 85 minute class periods with students spending time outside of class finishing their brochure.

First, students need to be in groups of three or four depending upon your class size. The teams will draw their subject name instead of choosing therefore eliminating more than one group in one class researching the same natural disaster and one topic going untouched.

Before doing the actual WebQuest, it may be helpful to give students a brief overview of what a WebQuest is and how it is different than other types of research projects.

Students will then need one day to be on the computer going to the various sites and writing down the information to answer the questions listed for each natural occurrence.

The second day students should follow the specific instructions on how to create their brochure and begin their rough draft.

The third day if necessary should be spent finishing any research and layout of the rough draft. They then should be on their way to revising and proofreading the draft and beginning the final draft.

The final draft can be due any specified date that fits your schedule.


Resources Needed

Some of the things helpful to implementing this lesson:

1. a natural disaster story, preferably nonfiction and of high interest
2. the paper and coloring utensils to make the brochures
3. if parents or aides are available they could help monitor group progress and read rough drafts



The following checklist could be used to evaluate student's brochures.

Natural Disaster Checklist


Introduction Page

1. Title, your name, grade, and school name (5) _____
2. Hand drawn picture related to the topic (6) _____
3. An introductory paragraph is written explaining what people are going to read inside the brochure (13) _____
4. Free of errors (5) _____
5. Neatness (5) _____

Second Column

1. Appropriate title (2) _____
2. Related picture (6) _____
3. The causes and effects of the natural disaster are written in an easy to read and follow format (13) _____
4. Free of errors (5) _____
5. Neatness (5) _____

Third Column

1. Appropriate title (2) _____
2. Related picture (6) _____
3. Information on steps to follow or what to do in case the natural disaster occurs is written in an easy to read and follow format (13) _____
4. Free of errors (5) _____
5. Neatness (5) _____

Web Sources are written clearly and neatly on the back (4) _____


Total (100) _____




The goal of this WebQuest is for students to do research on a very relevant topic and then to create something that will be used within their community.

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