1. Natural disasters occur periodically and can sometimes be devastating. However, when a disaster occurs, it provides the opportunity to rebuild and restore.
2. Using some of the websites listed below, discuss with students a variety of natural disasters and how people rebuild and restore the area after such an event. Teachers can provide such examples as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005 or local or state event with which students are familiar.
3. Provide students with the following scenario:
Recently, a tornado (teacher can choose another disaster relevant to the area) came through your community. Although no one was hurt, there was plenty of property destruction. The mayor and other government officials have called on you to help rebuild the city. Your task is to research the history, items, and special places that make the area great and plan the rebuilding of your community, taking all its best features into consideration.
4. Tell students to speak with their parents, family members, and friends about the city or community and what makes the community special such as parks, shops, homes, historical landmarks, etc. The teacher might want to create a worksheet with these questions to guide students and parents. In addition, have students use the Internet to research their community, as well as rebuilding efforts that have occurred elsewhere.
5. Place students into groups of four or five. Ask students to list items that they obtained from the interviews of their parents, family members, and friends. Encourage students to create a larger list as a whole group.
6. Each small group is responsible for the design of their rebuilt and restored community. Students should include in their design any difficulties or barriers to restoration that they think they might encounter (e.g., the condition of the levees in New Orleans). Encourage students to be creative. They are responsible for:
- Drawing a map like those that are provided on the Internet. (This can be done in Paint or other drawing program.) Each item on the list should be labeled.
- Sketching the city’s appearance and having a key or legend to explain different markings.
- Listing the historical items, landmarks, homes, and / or shops that would be in the community.
- Students can draw pictures of how certain landmarks would look after they rebuild it. Or, they can take photographs in the community to illustrate what needs to be rebuilt, restored, or replaced.
7. A final part of the assignment includes writing a short paper that is essentially a proposal to the city fathers, stating how they would rebuild the community, what factors need to be considered, an estimate of how long it will take, and why each item included is important.
8. Allow each group of students to present their rebuilt city to the class.
9. Create a class album in a binder for parents, staff, and students to view during conferences.