The activities in detail
The work undertaken during the five lesson unit was assessed as a portfolio of three items:
1. A test
With two key questions ‘Where do earthquakes happen and why?’ and ‘What are the effects of earthquakes?’. There was an expectation that students would use a variety of key geographical terms such as Richter Scale, magnitude and epicentre.
2. An illustrated leaflet
Explaining how to prepare to survive an earthquake. When devising the ‘preparation’ leaflet students used a diamond ranking exercise having discussed possible ways to reduce deaths and injuries from earthquakes. The most able students were given the task of justifying their choice of such methods based on perceived cost, ease of implementation and benefits (hazard reduction).
3. A imaginative story
Written as though students themselves had been in a major earthquake. Lower ability students used a scaffolded set of headings to assist in placing their story in chronological order. Middle and higher ability students were given a similar scaffold to plan their work but then expected to write the story in paragraphs, without headings. More able students were expected to undertake individual research into a recent major earthquake to include the social, economic and environmental impacts.