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STEM students recreate aftermath of natural Disaster

Building a shelter

Students use debris to build a safe shelter.

All last week, the seventh grade STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) students at Nimitz Middle School participated in a project based learning activity concerning catastrophic events. In each class they learned about various aspects of a catastrophic event such as its effect on a ecosystem; interpreting data related to the frequency of certain natural disasters as well as the cost to the economy; developing a plan for refugees from the perspective of a city planner; and more.

Testing the pH balance of water

Students test the pH balance of the soil.

At the beginning of the project students were asked to perform various tasks related to preparing for an incoming hurricane. As they performed each task they had to do it from the perspective of the role they were given before the activity began. This required them to have to think from someone else's mind set. Some of the roles the students may have played include a nurse with two kids, a married doctor, a single firefighter, or a retired person, among others. Each role included detailed information about their job, family, income, zip code, health problems, and car situation.

For the final culminating activity, students spent the day learning about the aftermath of a natural disaster. Pegged as the most action packed and interactive activity, students applied what they've learned in a recreation of the aftermath of a hurricane on the football field. Students brought in trash to be used as "debris" to spread around the field to look like a disaster had struck. Students rotated to stations to find solutions to various disaster aftermath challenges. One activity that proved to be most challenging, instructed the students to build a shelter from the debris. Once the shelters were completed, staff tested their shelter with buckets and hoses of water.

Students also learned how to administer basic first aid thanks to the help of the Lee High School ROTC, who were on hand to help teach the first aid as well as pretend to be the injured victims. Members of the US Army of Public Health taught students about pathogens, such as malaria that can be spread after natural disasters as well as controlling workplace conditions that may cause workers' injury or illness.

Members of Naval Medicine Training Support Center instructed students on how to craft a public communications release. Additional activities had students perform activities related to food rationing, testing soil pH, water quality testing with SAWS, and excavation equipment with a mechanical engineer.

Teachers test the shelters

The shelters were tested thoroughly by teachers.

US Army of Public Health rep works with students.

Students enjoyed a great survival activity thanks to the US Army of Public Health.

Posted on May 6, 2014