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Southern Trails Project: Mother Nature's Fury

Introduction. You and your classmates are writers for Hurricane Digest, a well respected national magazine for hurricane storm watchers.  You have been asked to write a story about what it would be like to experience a hurricane first hand.  You want the story to be exciting AND realistic, but you don't know anything about hurricanes.  You and your classmates decide the story would be easier to research in small groups of 4-5 students.  Work together to learn about hurricanes so you can write an exciting story about what it would be like to live through a hurricane.


Task. You will use the Web to gather information to help you write a story and create a picture describing what it was like to live through one of the worst hurricanes in recent history. You will work on two steps: step one, hurricane basics, and step two, getting to know Hurricanes Hugo, Andrew, Fran, and Floyd.

Process.

Step 1. Hurricane Basics:

Purpose: The purpose of this section is to give you a chance to learn some general information about hurricanes.

Scoring: This section is worth a total of 25 points toward your overall project grade. You can earn up to 20 points on the General Hurricane Questions worksheet, and you will receive 5 points for completing the online quiz.

Directions: Working in groups of 4-5, use the web sites listed under Useful Weather Web Sites for Kids  to find the answers to the General Hurricane Questions worksheet. Your teacher has a worksheet for you to fill out as you search the web for answers. And then test your knowledge by taking the online quiz listed below.

General Hurricane Questions (20 points)

  1. What is the definition of a hurricane?
  2. Defining hurricane terms
    • Eye, Storm Surge, Hurricane Season, Hurricane Warning, Hurricane Watch, Typhoon
  3. Why does a hurricane form?
  4. How is a hurricane named?
  5. What do the different hurricane categories mean?
  6. What are the different parts of the hurricane?
  7. What are some effects of a hurricane?
  8. What are some hurricane survival tips?

Test your knowledge with an online quiz (5 points)

Useful Weather Web Sites for Kids:

Step 2. Getting to Know Hurricanes Hugo, Andrew, Fran, and Floyd:

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 one of these costly natural disasters.

Scoring: This section is worth 75 points toward your overall project grade.  You can earn up to 20 points for completing the Hurricane Data worksheet, 15 points for your picture of the hurricane, and 40 points for your story.

Directions:

  1. Working in groups of 4-5, choose one of the following hurricanes: Hugo, Andrew, Fran, or  Floyd.  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)
  2. Once your group has filled out the data worksheet, turn in your information to your teacher. Your teacher will put all the information from all the groups into one table so your class can compare the hurricanes. As a class, decide which hurricane you think was the worst one and be able to explain why.
  3. Each student should write a short story about what it might have been like to live through the worst hurricane in recent history. (40 points). 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: Main character's name, the setting for the story, the name of the hurricane, and three or four interesting things that happened during the hurricane.
  4. Each student should create a picture of a hurricane to go with their story. (15 points). The picture can represent the hurricane at any stage, or could be a picture of something that happens in your story. You can be very creative. You will be evaluated using the following criteria:
    • Creativity/Originality
    • Effort
    • Fulfills Assignment

Useful Web Sites for Hurricanes Hugo, Andrew, Fran, & Floyd:

Hurricane Hugo (1989)

Hurricane Andrew (1992)

Hurricane Fran (1996)

Hurricane Floyd (1999)

Hurricane Images

Assessment.

Project Score Summary Possible Points Suggested Duration
General Hurricane Questions Worksheet 20 Points 1-2 hours of class time
Online Quiz 5 Points
Hurricane Data Sheet 20 Points 1 hour of class time
Hurricane Story 40 Points 1-2 hours of class time
Picture of a Hurricane 15 Points flexible
TOTAL  100 Points 3-5 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, writing a great piece, and illustrating your story with your picture!

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 one.

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: