Learning 12 Dec 2018

Earthquake hits grade 4 pod at Lakeside

By Erin Bird, grade 4 teacher (Lakeside)
Photograph by CIS Communications

It was a Tuesday morning like no other in the grade 4 pod at Lakeside. As  students entered the pod, they found it dark and in various states of destruction. The emergency lights were on, sirens were blasting, desks were overturned, and pieces of furniture were flipped in a chaotic manner. Even the WiFi was down! Students walked around gobsmacked. Some asked their teachers what had happened. Many whipped out their iPads to take photos and videos. A few just sat down and watched the raw footage of an earthquake playing on the projector, while others took the initiative to start cleaning up.

When teachers deemed it safe, they gathered their students and mindfully tiptoed between the mess into their classrooms, which were in the same state as the pod. They had a conversation about what could possibly have happened and what their plan of action was going to be. Some students started making connections between earthquakes and other natural disasters, while some were positive there had been a break-in.

This was grade 4’s introductory provocation to their new unit ‘How We Organise Ourselves’, a unit that explores how natural disasters play a role in shaping communities. Through this simulated earthquake, teachers were able to witness how students would possibly react in a real emergency. Many students knew they needed to ensure that everyone was safe and then work together to clean up the mess this ‘earthquake’ had made; not unlike any real community facing such a horrific event.

From this simulation, students were able to make connections, ask excellent questions about key concepts, and start the units inquiries. And best of all, they were excited about their learning!