Global Voices Youth Story

This youth story is intended to help younger students understand the issues and general themes presented in the Global Voices column. Educators are encouraged to choose between the column and story, and use the accompanying resources and questions that best suit their classroom and teaching goals. One Family
Kamran was still rubbing the sleep out of his eyes as he walked out of his bedroom and down the hallway of his apartment. He wanted to watch some TV before getting ready for school. Kamran stopped suddenly when he got to his living room. His mother and father were sitting on the couch and they looked serious. His father was speaking in Arabic to someone on the phone, and Kamran’s mother looked like she had been crying. Kamran did not understand Arabic very well, but his father sounded very serious. Kamran was confused. “What’s wrong Mom? Why are you crying?” His mother turned to him and smiled kindly. “Nothing is wrong dear,” she said. “I am crying because I am happy. Do you remember your Aunt Fatima who you met last year when we were in Pakistan?” “Yes!” said Kamran with a smile. Kamran and his parents were only in Pakistan for a week last summer, and he had met lots of his family there, but he remembered his Aunt Fatima very well because she always had sweets to give him like baklawa and big glasses of falooda. “Well,” said his mother, “We have not heard from her in over one month because she had to leave her home after the flood. But I am very happy because she is okay and she has found a new place to live.” Kamran had heard about the floods in Pakistan that started in July 2010, but never thought his family would be affected by them. He remembered that his aunt’s house was near a very large river. He suddenly thought of the announcements his principal made on the school intercom when it was raining heavily outside. “Please stay away from any bodies of water, because they can be dangerous!” “Why did Auntie Fatima have to leave her house?” Kamran asked. “Was it destroyed by water?” “Yes. Auntie Fatima had to leave her house and it can be very dangerous. Sometimes people get very sick because of all the dirty water that is around. That is why I was worried about her.” “Why did it take Auntie Fatima a month to phone us?” “After she lost her home she had to live in a tent without a phone for a little while,” said Kamran’s father. “And many telephone and electricity wires were also destroyed by the flood, so many people didn’t have phones.” As Kamran walked to school that morning he thought of his Aunt Fatima. He thought of her that whole morning, and pictured her living in a tent. Most of Kamran’s family was still in Pakistan. He wondered how many other people he met last summer lived in tents now.

Youth Story Continued…
At school, Kamran’s teacher, Mr. Martino, asked his grade five class to write their first journal entry about something interesting that had happened to them over the summer. Of course, Kamran chose the story of his Aunt Fatima. After that Mr. Martino asked the grade fives to come down to the carpet for a discussion about their journals. A new student in the class named Jacob talked about how he was in his friend’s apartment in Toronto during the summer when an earthquake happened. Mr. Martino was very interested in this. “We’re lucky to live in this part of the world where we don’t have so many earthquakes, and the ones we do have are very small. Do you remember the earthquake in Haiti last January?” asked Mr. Martino. Many students nodded. “Does anyone remember the earthquake in Kashmir in 2005?” Mr. Martino asked. Nobody said anything. But then Kamran remembered his family in Pakistan last summer talking about the earthquake. For the rest of the day Kamran couldn’t stop thinking about how many sad things had happened to people in Pakistan in the last few years. When he got home he told his mother about his day, and asked her if he could phone his Aunt Fatima in Pakistan. “Of course!” she said. Kamran was very happy to talk to his aunt, and to hear her voice smiling to him from the other side of the world. They talked for a long time before Kamran got the courage to ask the question he wanted to ask. “Why do so many people die in earthquakes and floods in Pakistan, and when earthquakes and floods happen in Canada, not many people even get hurt?” “That’s a good question,” she said hesitantly. “Canada is very lucky to be a rich country. This means that Canada can afford to build good houses that earthquakes don’t damage, and good hospitals to help people who are hurt or sick. Pakistan is not a rich country, so when an earthquake or flood happens, it’s harder to get help.” Kamran was quiet for a moment. “That’s not fair.” He felt sad, but then he heard his aunt’s smiling voice on the phone say to him from the other side of the world: “No. You’re right, Kamran. It’s not. But you know what? It’s not important who is rich and who is not. All that is important is that the people who can help remember that it is their duty to do so.” After saying goodbye to his aunt, Kamran went to bed and looked at the stars outside his window. He knew they were the same stars that his aunt would also see that night. And as he laid his head down on his pillow he made a promise to his aunt that he would always be generous to the people he had the power to help.


Global Voices Elementary Information Sheet

Courtesy of the

About Pakistan • Pakistan is a country in South Asia that shares a border with Afghanistan and India. • An estimated 170 million people live in Pakistan. The country has the second largest population of Muslims in the world outside of Indonesia. • The capital of Pakistan is Islamabad, a city that lies in the northeast of the country. • Kashmir is a disputed region that is currently divided between three countries: Pakistan, India and China. India and Pakistan do not recognize the parts of the region they do not control as actually belonging to the other country. Natural Disasters • Natural disasters include things like floods, tornados, hurricanes or earthquakes. • These are naturally occurring events that affect the environment and can cause financial, environmental or human loss. But, the loss depends on the ability of a country or region to meet the natural disaster. • For example, Canada has buildings that are made to withstand the cold. If there is a major snowstorm, people can go inside and they will be safe. • In Pakistan, the majority of people are incredibly poor. Their homes and businesses were not built to withstand the floods that are currently taking place in the country. So, when the water rose, many people peoples’ homes were damaged. Key Terms • attitude – manner, disposition, feeling or position • distribute – to divide or give out in shares • humanitarian – about saving human lives or alleviating suffering • logistics – the planning, implementation and coordination of the details of a business or other operation • political – relating to the state, government, or policy-making


Global Voices Elementary Educator Resources
Note to Educators:
The following activities are designed to stimulate a current events discussion. Generative in nature, these questions can be a launching point for additional assignments or research projects. Teachers are encouraged to adapt these activities to meet the contextual needs of their classroom. In some cases, reading the article with students may be appropriate, coupled with reviewing the information sheet to further explore the concepts and contexts being discussed. From here, teachers can select from the questions provided below. Activities are structured to introduce students to the issues, then allow them to explore and apply their learnings. Extension and conclusion activities are included to challenge students and finally, encourage them to reflect on the issues at hand. Since these activities are designed as discussions rather than formal lessons, assessment strategies are not included.

Themes and Course Connections
• • • • • • Media literacy, natural disasters, floods, hurricanes, preparation, weather, weather forecasting, prevention Course Connections: Social Studies, Geography and Language

Chart paper Markers Red, yellow and green paper Miscellaneous materials found around (for example, blocks, pencils, tooth picks, Lego etc.)

Specific Expectations and Learning Goals
Students will: • Gain knowledge on natural disasters, specifically earthquakes and floods. • Learn how to voice their opinion in a non threatening environment. • Practice their media literacy skills. • Participate in active class discussions. • Discover the importance of weather forecasting.

Knowledge and Understanding
1. Out of Control (estimated time: 10 minutes) a. Write the central title “NATURAL DISASTER” on chart paper. b. Divide the class into pairs and give each pair two sticky notes. c. Ask each pair to discuss this topic and write two things they know about natural disasters on their sticky notes. d. When this is complete, ask each pair to place their sticky notes on the chart paper around the central title. e. Discuss similarities, differences and common themes found on the display. f. Following this introduction, lead a brainstorm around the concept of natural disasters. Ask: i. What is a natural disaster? ii. What are the consequences of a natural disaster?


iii. iv. v.

What impact do they have on the people, infrastructure, and government in the places affected? What are governments responsible for during times of disaster? How do local people deal with a natural disaster?

2. Give your Opinion (estimated time: 15 minutes) a. Hand out one green, one yellow and one red card to each student. b. Instruct the students to draw a happy face on the green card, a neutral face on the yellow card and a sad face on the red card. c. Read aloud the first statement (see below) and have students respond by holding up the card that best describes how they feel about it: green for agree, yellow for neutral or unsure and red for disagree. d. Ask students to leave their cards up and search for another student who feels the same way. They each discuss their rational for their opinion. When the pairs have finished discussing, they raise their cards again. e. When all the pairs have finished, instruct them to move around the room again and find someone who has a different opinion. They each discuss their rational for their opinion. When finished, they raise their cards again. f. Lead a quick discussion about how students responded to the statement. g. Repeat the process for the other statements. h. Suggested statements: i. The strength of an earthquake is measured on something called a Richter Scale which ranges in magnitude from 0 – 10.0 ii. The underground point of origin of the earthquake is called the "focus". The point directly above the focus on the surface is called the "epicenter" iii. Earthquakes by themselves rarely kill people or wildlife. It is usually the secondary events that they trigger, such as building collapse, fires, tsunamis (seismic sea waves) and volcanoes, that are actually the human disaster. Many of these could possibly be avoided by better construction, safety systems, early warning and evacuation planning. iv. Flooding is a natural condition that happens as a result of river overflow, heavy rains, a dam breaking, or snow melting too fast. v. Flooding is the most common natural weather event. vi. Socio-economic status helps determine how one will fare during a natural disaster. vii. I do not worry about natural disasters because I know my country is prepared to handle them. viii. The area where I live has adequate infrastructure to deal with natural disasters, such as building codes, disaster warnings, and first response systems.

1. Read Global Voices Column as a class (estimated time: 10 minutes) a. Discussion i. Ask the class to work together to retell the events of the column in their own words. ii. Ask students to explain how they felt while the column was being read. Did they feel sad? Why? Did they feel angry? Did they feel hopeful? Why? 2. Media Literacy (estimated time: 15 minutes) a. On a piece of paper ask each student to write the heading Pakistan Disasters at the top of the page. Underneath the heading, have them create a chart with two columns across and five rows down.


b. Explain to the students that they will be analyzing the Global Voices column and answering the five Ws. c. In the first column, have them write the following questions in each row: i. Who (who was involved? Who are the victims?) ii. What (what happened? What are the causes?) iii. Where (where did this event take place?) iv. When (when did this happen?) v. Why (why did this happen?) d. Have the students revisit the Global Voices column and in the second column of their chart have them answer the associated questions in bullet point form. e. Discuss the charts as a class. 3. Background Knowledge: Flooding (estimated time: 5 minutes) a. To gain further insight on flooding, ask the class the following questions: i. What is a flood? ii. How does a flood occur? iii. How do you prepare for a flood? iv. What types of damage does a flood cause? v. Can a flood be prevented? vi. What are some of the health concerns with floods/ flood damage? vii. How can people help in the occurrence of a flood? How have the people in Pakistan been helped?

1. Flood Prevention (estimated time: 20 minutes) a. Divide the students into four groups. b. Explain to the students that there are a variety of ways that floods can be prevented and today they are going to explore 4 of them. c. Assign each group one of the following flood prevention techniques: levees, dams, reservoirs, and floodways. d. Distribute various miscellaneous materials found around the classroom to each group (for example, blocks, pencils, tooth picks, lego etc) e. Each group must research their technique and create a model based on their research that demonstrates how their technique works. f. When the groups have put their demonstration together, ask each group to present how their flood prevention technique works. g. To wrap up the lesson, ask students to share what techniques they think are most effective, both physically and economically, in flood situations.

1. The Daily Meteorologist (estimated time: extended project) a. Explain to students that they will be participating in an ongoing project called the daily meteorologist. b. Ask: i. What is a meteorologist? ii. What do they do? iii. How can they help you? iv. Why is it important to prepare for weather conditions?


In advance, assign each student a day when they will become the class’s daily meteorologist. In this role, it is their job to inform their classmates about the weather so they can be prepared. They will stand in front of the class and report on the weather at various points throughout the day (for example: first thing in the morning, before recess, after recess etc). d. What to report: i. Temperature: Students must read the thermometer and record the temperature throughout the day. ii. Precipitation: Students will report whether there is or is a chance of precipitation. iii. Wind: Students identify the type of wind and the speed. iv. Cloud Cover: Students will illustrate if it is a sunny, cloudy, or partly cloudy day. v. Appropriate Wear: Students will tell their class what they should wear outside to protect themselves from the elements. vi. Interesting: The students should be prepared with an interesting fact about whether to share with the class. The students can peruse the class or school library for interesting weather facts. vii. Weekly Weather Vocabulary: Meteorologists will share a new word with the class and place the new word on the weather wall. All students will write a definition of the word in their science books and write a sentence with the new word.


Additional Resources
National Geographic