A lesson plan based on the earthquake preparedness section in the October 2004 issue of L.A. Youth.

By Libby Hartigan, Managing Editor

Grades: 6-12
Subjects: Language arts
Overview of lesson plan: Students will discuss ways to prepare for earthquakes.
Suggested time allowance: 45 min.-1 hr.

Objective: Students will develop critical reading comprehension skills while learning how to be prepared for earthquakes.

Resources and material:
— pens, paper
— copies of L.A. Youth October 2004 issue (one per student)
— blackboard or whiteboard

Write “Earthquake” on the board. Ask your students if any of them have been through earthquakes. What happened to them, their families, their property, their homes?

The San Andreas fault and many related minor faults pass through Los Angeles County. While earthquakes can’t be predicted, scientists are confident that they will occur here, and that the area could be struck by a major earthquake which would cause severe damage. Yet some people make few preparations.
Ask your students if their families have made preparations for earthquakes. How many have an earthquake kit at home? How many have discussed emergency plans with their families, such as who to call?

Reading. Have the students read the earthquake preparedness articles on pages 16-19.

Reading comprehension exercise:
Ask students to list at least three things they can do to prepare for earthquakes for each of the following questions.

1. How can you make your bedroom safer in an earthquake?
Possible answers are:
–Move objects that could fall on you in bed and hurt you
–Move the bed away from the window if possible.
–Close the blinds so that shattered glass will be less likely to hurt you
–Pick up the clutter so there’s a clear path to the door.
–Keep a flashlight in the room, and check the batteries to make sure they’re working.
–Strap down your computer or anything that’s heavy, like a TV.
–Put breakable items on bottom shelves or store them in drawers.
–Fasten mirrors to the wall or dresser.
–Replace ceramic pots with plastic ones.

2. How can you stay safe during an earthquake?
Possible answers:
–Duck under a table or some other solid piece of furniture.
–Don’t panic. Follow your family’s plan.
–Stay inside until you know it is safe.
–If you’re outside, stand away from trees or power lines.
What should be in an emergency plan?
Possible answers:
–Name and phone number of an out-of-state contact
–Where to meet outside your home
–Where to meet away from the neighborhood, in case you can’t return home
–Other emergency phone numbers
–Plan for taking care of pets

Extension activity:
Ask students to try to arrange a family meeting to create an emergency plan. Students can clip out and use the sample plan published on page 18 of L.A. Youth. After the meeting, they can report their progress to the class.

For more info, www.fema.gov