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Project Based Learning  

Design Guide 
Unit/Project Title: What a Disaster!  Duration: 7 weeks 
Content Focus: Weather (Natural Disasters)  Teacher(s): Cason, Salahuddin  Grade Level:  
1st Grade 

Other subject areas to be included: Math, Writing, ELA, Technology 

Significant Content  NGSS:​​ K-2-ETS1-1. Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people 
  want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or 
improved object or tool.  
K-2-ETS1-2. Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object 
helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.  
K-2-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the 
strengths and weaknesses of how each performs. 
S1E1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate weather data to identify weather patterns.  
a. Represent data in tables and/or graphs to identify and describe different types of weather and the 
characteristics of each type.  
b. Ask questions to identify forms of precipitation such as rain, snow, sleet, and hailstones as either solid 
(ice) or liquid (water).  
c. Plan and carry out investigations on current weather conditions by observing, measuring with simple 
weather instruments (thermometer, wind vane, rain gauge), and recording weather data (temperature, 
precipitation, sky conditions, and weather events) in a periodic journal, on a calendar, and graphically.  
d. Analyze data to identify seasonal patterns of change. (Clarification statement: Examples could include 
temperature, rainfall/snowfall, and changes to the environment.) 
Writing/ ELA:  
ELAGSE1W7: Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., exploring a number of “how-to” 
books on a given topic and use them to write a sequence of instructions). SW research various types of 
weather and natural disasters. SW write a “How to Be Prepared in ….” Book in diffferent presentation 
formats (i.e. slide show, team book, VOKI…) 
Social Studies:​​ The students will research, read, study and discuss different weather patterns occurring 
in different regions of the country. The students will discuss how natural disasters affect their daily lives.  
MGSE.1.MD.4 SW organize weather data in charts 
Use S1E1. a. Represent data in tables and/or graphs to identify and describe different types of weather 
and the characteristics of each type by observing daily, and weekly forecasts. and c. measuring with 
simple weather instruments (thermometer, wind vane, rain gauge), and recording weather data 
(temperature, precipitation, sky conditions, and weather events) in a periodic journal, on a calendar, and 
Technology: ​The students will use Ipads to record news related to weather. The students will present the 
weather forecast for the WCAE News Weather Center. ​SW create a presentation that gives information 
on how to prepare for types of weather and natural disasters. 
SW design a tool that measures wind direction., temperature and rainfall  

21​st​​ ​ Century Competencies  Collaboration  X  Creativity and Innovation  X

(to be taught and assessed)  (i.e SW work in teams to…) 
Communication  X  Other: 
Critical Thinking  X   
Project Summary  Part 1:
(include student role, issue,  Meteorologists are scientists that use tools to study and predict the weather. Over the next two
problem or challenge, action taken, 
week period, SW be making a class weather chart indicating daily temperature, how windy it is
and purpose/beneficiary) 
  outside, which direction the wind is blowing and amount of precipitation, if any. SW design a
  tool that can be used to show the direction of the wind. SW will develop resources to educate
  others on how to prepare for these catastrophic events.
Part 2:
You have been learning all about the weather. You have learned that thermometers tell you how
hot or cold it is outside. Today our school’s Kindergartners need your help. They have yet to
learn about the weather and need you to teach them about temperature. Your challenge is to
create a model of a thermometer that has a scale of 10 that goes all the way to 100 degrees
Fahrenheit. When you complete your model you will then have to teach a Kindergarten Buddy
all about thermometers and temperatures!SW will develop resources to educate others on how
to prepare for these catastrophic events.

Culminating: Over the past few weeks you have been learning all about different types of weather. You have
collected data, drawn pictures, and even created weather instruments. Today you will work with your team of
meteorologist must come up with a creative production all about the weather. This production could be a skit, a
live weather report, an interview about the weather, a song that you create, or even a dance about the weather.
In your production you must include information about the weather and use at least 1 of the weather
instruments that your team has created.

Plan on providing at least 1 to 2 weeks to create their production.


Driving Question:  How can we design weather instruments to observe and measure weather patterns ? How can we help other
  prepare for extreme types of weather?

Need to Know:  ● What is weather? Where does weather come from? What kinds of weather do we have?
● What does it mean to survive? Why is it still sunny when it rains?
● What is precipitation?
(​​Remember to create a list of  ● What is a natural disaster? What are different types of natural disasters?
“​Anticipated”​ ​Need to Know  ● What weather conditions can be observed ​during different types of weather and natural disasters​ ​?
questions prior to Entry Event.  ● How can we help others prepare for the weather and natural disasters?
● What can happen if you are not prepared for a natural disaster?
Project Problem  In the world we live in our students have discovered that even though we can’t 
(How does this relate to the real  prevent natural disasters, we can do our best to prepare for them. after studying 
world? What problem exists in  different forms of weather, precipitation, and natural disasters such a hurricanes, 
their lives, school, community, or  floods, blizzards and tornadoes, students will develop a plan and resources to 
world? )  educate others on what natural disasters are and how to prepare for them. 
Entry Event:   
Option 1: Channel 46, Fox 5, 11 Alive, or WSB Action News weather truck. 
Option 2: Natural Disaster/Meteorologist Virtual Tour 
Option 3: Georgia State University Bio Bus 
Products: ​Must include ED  Individual:   Specific content and competencies to be assessed: 
Process in at least one of the  Weather Vane design Students will explain specific aspects of weather and 
products.  Thermometer design characteristics of natural disasters.   
Rain Gauge design 
  Students will record weather types/natural disasters in daily 
Weather graphs 
Engineering Design Process:  log. Use a calendar to record weather data. 
● ASK ​questions- Introducing   
the project (30 minutes)  Students will be ​assessed on responsibility, problem 
● Conduct R ​ ESEARCH​​ ​(1 or  solving, decision making, leadership and communication. 
more class periods)   
● Draft a ​PLAN​​ (​​3 class   
periods)  Team:  Specific content and competencies to be assessed​​: 
● CREATE​​ a  Preparedness brochures   
model/prototype (5 class  News reports for weather  Students will be assessed based on teamwork, leadership, 
periods)  natural disasters preparedness video  communication, problem-solving, and responsibility. 
model (1 class period)   
● IMPROVE​​ the design (2 
class periods) 
● COMMUNICATE​​ project 
to a public audience (peers, 
other grade levels, parents, 
experts, etc. This part is 
crucial and extremely 
Public Audience  Students will present or exhibit their work using platforms such as, audiences. Audiences will include students, 
(​​Experts, audiences, or product  staff, parents, community partners. 
users students will engage with 
during/at end of project) 
Resources Needed  On-Site Experts:  Off/Site Field Experience:  
  News Station Trucks, GSU Bio Bus   
  Equipment:​​ I Pads, Chromebooks, Digital Camera 
  Materials: ​nails, masking tape, 2 feet dowel rods, boxes, flashlights, bottled water, deodorant, extra batteries, 
  whistle, can opener, cell phone charger, small shoe boxes, 1st aid kit, battery operated radio, 3 day supply 
  nonperishable foods, plastic ties, blanket, change of clothes, toothbrush, books, pencils, crayons 
  ● 15- tornado tubes 
  ● 6-shaving cream   
● 9 boxes of Food coloring 
● 15-Mason Jars  
● 12- nine volt batteries 
Community Resources: empty aluminum cans, empty water bottles, 2 liter empty bottles, baby wipes, 
garbage bags, large boxes 
Reflection:  Journal/Learning Log  x  Focus Group  x 
(Individual, Team, and/or Whole  Whole Class Discussion  x  Rubric  x 
Class)  Survey  x