Step 1. Hurricane Basics:
Purpose: The purpose of this section is to
give you a chance to learn some general information
Scoring: This section is worth a total of
20 points toward your overall project grade by completing
the General Hurricane Questions worksheet, the point
value of each question is listed on the worksheet.
Directions: Working on your own, gather some
general information about hurricanes using the Web
sites listed under Useful Weather Web Sites for Middle
Schoolers to find the answers to the General Hurricane
Questions. Your teacher has a worksheet for you to
fill out as you search the web for answers.
General Hurricane Questions
- What is the definition of a hurricane?
- Defining hurricane terms
- Eye, Storm Surge, Hurricane Season, Hurricane
Warning, Hurricane Watch, Typhoon, Saffir-Simpson
Scale, Hurricane Hunters, Landfall, Eye Wall,
Coastal Flood Warning, Evacuation Routes
- Why does a hurricane form?
- How is a hurricane named?
- What do the different hurricane categories mean?
- What are the different parts of the hurricane?
- What are some effects of a hurricane?
- When, how and why does a hurricane form?
Useful Weather Web Sites
for Middle Schoolers:
Step 2. Getting to Know Hurricanes:
Purpose: During the past 20 years, the southern
part of the United States has been hit by some of
the worst hurricanes in recorded history. The purpose
of this section is to build on the general information
about hurricanes you have just learned to get to know
more facts about one of these costly natural disasters.
Scoring: This section is worth 20 points toward
your overall project grade.
- Select a hurricane that developed in the past
20 years. Using the web sites listed below, research
the following information about the hurricane you
b. Time period (dates during which the storm was
classified as a hurricane)
c. Category (Maximum intensity)
d. Maximum sustained wind speed
e. Reported wind gusts
f. Damage (in dollars)
g. Loss of life
h. Where it made landfall
i. Height of the storm surge
j. Any other information deemed relevant
Use the web sites listed under Useful Web Sites
for Hurricanes to find the information about the
hurricane you selected. Your teacher has a data
worksheet for you to fill out as you search the
web for answers. (20 points)
- As a class put all the information into an Microsoft
Excel spread sheet to create a comparative chart.
Discuss the some of the facts you found out about
the hurricanes. Which one seems to be the worst
hurricane? What did you base your decision on? Were
you able to come to consensus about which hurricane
was the worst one in recent history?
Step 3. Writing Your Story:
Purpose: Use the information you have learned
so far about hurricanes to write a story about what
it would have been like to live through a hurricane.
Scoring: This exercise is worth 40 points
toward your overall grade. Your teacher will use the
rubric found in the Assessment section of this Web
page to grade your story.
Directions: Once your class has put all
the information about the hurricanes you selected
into the spreadsheet. Select one hurricane you would
like to write a short story about. Once you have selected
a hurricane go to the FEMA
Photo Library Search Engine. Scroll down the page
until you see the keywords search. Insert the name
of the hurricane in the space provided next to keywords.
For example, Keywords: Hurricane Floyd. You can use
the parameters provided to narrow your search. For
example, you could select your state in the pull down
menu provided in the "Location" parameter
to narrow the search to pictures taken in your state.
The search engine will find all the FEMA pictures
in their archives that relate to your hurricane. Take
some time to look through the pictures of the effects
on the people and places hit by the hurricane. Double-clicking
on a picture will take you to another web page that
provides specific information (location and date picture
was taken) about the picture you selected. Select
one picture you would like to describe in a story.
Each student should write a creative short story
based on a picture from the FEMA Photo Library about
what it might have been like to live through a hurricane.
(40 points) You can make up anything you like about
the people or the place pictured in the photograph.
Your teacher will assign the length requirement for
your story based on the work your class has done this
year. You can either type it on a computer or write
it by hand. Your story should contain the following
information based on the picture from the FEMA Library:
- The picture you selected
- Information about the people in the picture
- The setting for the story
- The name of the hurricane
- At least five interesting things that happened during
Step 4. Sharing Your Story:
Purpose: Work together to present one of
your stories about living through the hurricane.
Scoring: This exercise is worth 20 points
toward your overall project grade. Your teacher will
use the rubric found in the Assessment section of
this Web page to grade your group presentation.
Directions: Your teacher will divide you
into groups of 4 or 5. Each group should work together
to create a presentation for your class based one
story from your group – your group can decide
on which story you would like to present...do a skit,
use powerpoint, be creative! (20 points) You will
be evaluated using the following criteria:
|Project Score Summary
|General Hurricane Questions Worksheet
||1-3 hours of class time
|Hurricane Data Sheet
||2-4 hours of class time
||15-30 minutes to select picture, write story as
||3.5 - 7.5 hours of class time
Conclusion. Congratulations on a
job well done! Your editor at Hurricane Digest thought
you did a great job researching your story and writing
a great piece!
Hurricanes are a fact of life for those of us who live
in the southern part of the United States. Through years
of research we have found the better educated we are
about hurricanes, the better we are prepared to cope
with some of the challenges brought by these huge storms.
I hope this webquest has given you an chance to learn
important information about hurricanes and gain a new
perspective about what it might be like to live through
All the Web sites listed on this page can lead you
to information about other interesting weather patterns
you might like to learn more about. Now you all know
a lot more about hurricanes. Nice work. You should be
proud of yourselves! Remember, learning never stops.
Additional Web Sites for
Learning More About Hurricanes: