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Ministry of Education.

Calamities and catastrophes

Teacher Mary-Ann Hilton





7-8 4 6 weeks


Achievement Objective Being Assessed

Learning Outcomes

Close Reading  Discuss language, meanings, and ideas from a range of texts, relating students understanding to personal experiences, purposes and audience.
Transactional Writing  Use the information in the texts to rewrite factual accounts using a range of styles and contexts from different points of view.


 Thinking Critically Read, discuss and convey meanings, from a range of texts, both the facts and the human drama of six New Zealand natural disasters.
 Processing Information  Gather, select and interpret information from a variety of sources then present it accurately.

Supporting Achievement Objective

Learning Outcomes

 Presenting  Use a variety of static or moving images to communicate the researched information on a disaster to the rest of the class.
 Viewing  Respond to and discuss the effectiveness of each students final presentation.
 Social Organisation
(Social Studies Curriculum)
 Explain how people organise themselves in response to challenge and crisis.


Teacher background reading

Teaching and learning activities

Select and adapt these learning activities to best meet the needs of your students, and to fit the time available:

This unit is in two parts:

Learning task 1 is teacher directed and involves close reading from more than one source then rewriting into a variety of different contexts. The disasters used in Part One are from New Zealand history and all have different natural causes.

Learning task 2 is an independent, student directed research project.


assessment (RTF 6KB)

Part one

self_assessment1 (RTF 6KB)

Part two

how_sheet (RTF 21KB)
self_assessment2 (RTF 5KB)




  • A set of books for students to browse through and use for information, ie. National Library books.
  • Internet access.
  • 111 - emergency! 1992 Pt 3 No.2
  • The Abbotsford Landslip 1996 Pt 3 No.1
  • The Big One 1999 Pt 3 No.2
  • A Bit of a Blow 1991 Pt 2 No.1
  • A Bizarre Shipwreck 1991 Pt 3 No.2
  • The Body Run 1993 Pt 4 No.3
  • Christmas after the Cyclone 1994 YPW
  • Close Call at Tristan da Cunha 2000 Pt 3 No.3
  • Cyclone 2003 Pt2 No.1
  • Escape from the Wahine 2002 Pt 4 No.3
  • Fire Callout 1996 Pt 2 No.4
  • Fire Fighter! 1992 Pt 4 No.3
  • The Fire on the 22nd of June 1990 YPW
  • A Gift from Tangaroa 1990 Pt 3 No.3
  • Gisborne Floods 1990 YPW
  • Good News, Bad News 1990 Pt 4 No. 1
  • It's Gone 1994 YPW
  • Jago Descends 2000 CN No.2
  • July 24th 1990: Our School Fire! 1992 YPW
  • Life on the Desert Road 1993 Pt2 No.2
  • Lost of Sea 1993 Pt4 No.3
  • Lucky - or Unlucky? 1990 Pt2 No.2
  • Make a Vocanoe 2002 Pt2 No.2
  • The Mountain 1999 Pt4 No.2
  • The Naming of Rangitoto 2001 YPW
  • Nightmare on Anchorage Island 1999 Pt4 No.1
  • Waiohine Flood 2003 Pt2 No.1
  • Access to a fax machine or telephone.
  • Access to computers for presentation.
  • Access to a video camera and television.
  • Access to a digital camera.
  • Art supplies ie. paper, cutting knives, paint, dye, crayons, scissors.
  • Gawith, Gwen.(1987) Information Alive. Longman Paul.

Published on: 31 May 2009