Two Earthquakes In Two Months: Comparing The Quakes In Haiti And Chile

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Teaching ideas based on New York Times content.

Overview | How do the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti compare? In this lesson, students perform a gallery walk to learn more about the earthquakes from a specific standpoint, and then do a specific research and presentation project or response activity. Finally, they seek answers to their lingering unanswered questions.

Materials | Print copies of photographs, charts, documents and other visuals to display, as described below; computer(s) with Internet access (optional), research materials, handouts

Note to Teacher | The following is a framework for comparing the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti. Depending on how you adapt it for your classroom, it can take one or multiple class periods, and could be done as a multidisciplinary lesson or mini-unit. It can also easily be narrowed down for a specific subject area, such as global history or science. Additionally, the sequence suggested here could easily be changed.

Warm-up | Prior to class, choose and prepare a “gallery” of photographs, graphics, news reports and other materials to display around the room to enable students to consider the 2010 earthquake in Chile. If you have the technology to play audio/video clips and show interactive online features at one or more stations, consider doing so. You may wish to start with the gallery walk or, as suggested below, begin by assessing student knowledge and providing some background.

Depending on course curriculum, choose materials for the gallery that provide a window on the two quakes, through one of the following five specific focal points, or the focus of your choice:

Extent of Damage – Comparing the quake magnitude and epicenter location, infrastructure, economy and industry, building codes, population centers, government and culture of Haiti and Chile to see why the damage was worse in Haiti even though the Chilean earthquake was much stronger.

Earthquakes through History – Putting the 2010 Chilean and Haitian quakes into historical perspective with respect to other earthquakes, including the 1960 Chilean quake and the 2004 Asian earthquake and tsunami.

Rescue and Aid – Considering domestic and international response to the disasters by militaries, governments and aid organizations, including rescue and recovery as well as efforts to provide food, water, health care and shelter to those affected.

Impressions – Articulating and expressing personal responses to the disasters and tragedies.

News Reports – Comparing the content and tone of mainstream media coverage to citizen journalism and social media updates about Chile, and/or comparing both of these types of reports to those about Haiti.

Depending on your chosen focus, prepare the gallery in a strategic, coherent way. For example, if you are having students compare key facts about Haiti and Chile and the earthquakes that hit those countries, you may want to place comparable maps and data side-by-side for direct comparison, or you may want to divide the room in half and devote one side to Haiti and the other to Chile.

Good starting points for finding Times resources for the gallery walk include the Times Topics pages on Chile, Haiti, the Haiti Earthquake of 2010, Tidal Waves and Tsunamis and Earthquakes, along with the updates from the breaking news updates blog, The Lede, in posts “tagged” with earthquakes, Chile and Haiti.

Additional useful resources include The Lens blog’s disaster photography, the Haiti Earthquake Multimedia collection, and the Maps of the Chile Earthquake and reader photos; more multimedia can be found here. Coverage of the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in Southeast Asia can be found in the collection Asia’s Deadly Waves and in the multimedia index. Social media resources include the Times Twitter lists on the Haiti Earthquake and the Chile Earthquake.

For comparing earthquakes over time, you might use the statistics on the Deadliest Quakes as of 2004 and the Costliest Natural Disasters Since 1900 (as of 2004).

You may wish to precede the gallery walk by asking students to share what they know about the earthquake in Chile and/or provide basic information about it. Then ask students what questions they have about the earthquake and particularly how it compares to the January’s earthquake in Haiti and the 2004 southeast Asian earthquake and tsunami. Students’ questions may be focused on anything from the science of earthquakes to the resulting death tolls and displacement statistics to how other countries are responding and providing aid.

Start a K/W/L chart (PDF), Fact/Question/Response chart (PDF) or Venn Diagram (PDF) at this point to track what students know and what to know. You might have students jot down ideas on individual charts and compile their ideas onto a class-wide chart, or perhaps have students come to the board and write notes on an oversized chart.

Tell them that now they will read an article that explains some comparisons among three earthquakes: the 1960 and 2010 quakes in Chile and the 2004 quake in Indonesia; afterward, they will peruse the gallery.

Related | The article “Underwater Plate Cuts 400 Mile Gash” compares the recent earthquake in Chile to the 1960 Chilean earthquake, the 2004 Indonesian earthquake, and January’s Haitian earthquake:

Mr. Lin said his calculations showed that the quake on Saturday was 250 to 350 times more powerful than the Haitian quake.

But Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey in Golden, Colo., noted that at least on land, the effects of the Chilean tremor might not be as bad. “Even though this quake is larger, it’s probably not going to reap the devastation that the Haitian quake did,” he said.

For one thing, he said, the quality of building construction is generally better in Chile than in Haiti. And the fact that the quake occurred offshore should also help limit the destruction. In Haiti, the rupture occurred only a few miles from the capital, Port-au-Prince. The rupture on Saturday was centered about 60 miles from the nearest town, Chillan, and 70 miles from the country’s second-largest city, Concepción.

Read the article with your class using the following questions.

Questions | For discussion and reading comprehension:

  1. How does the 2010 Chilean earthquake compare to the 1960 Chilean earthquake?
  2. Why do scientists believe that the 2010 Chilean earthquake will not wreak the same level of devastation as January’s Haitian earthquake did?
  3. How does the 2010 Chilean earthquake compare to the 2004 Indonesian earthquake?
  4. What reasons do scientists give to explain why the Indonesian quake caused so much more damage than the recent Chilean earthquake?
  5. What questions do you still have about how this earthquake compares to other recent natural disasters? How might we go about answering these questions?

RELATED RESOURCES
From The Learning Network
From NYTimes.com
Around the Web

Activity | Next, or the following day, hold the gallery walk, and tell students the focus of the materials they will be examining. If necessary, caution students that some of the images they will see are disturbing, and remind them to treat the images with appropriate respect given the extent of suffering caused by the earthquakes.

As they circulate, students should jot down their responses to each item in their journals or on their charts, consisting of descriptions, observations, questions, emotional reactions, facts and other ideas, as appropriate for your focus.

After students have had time to peruse everything in the gallery, have them retake their seats and “whip” around, with each student sharing and pointing out what item resonated most with him or her and why.

Here are ideas for proceeding, depending on focus:

Extent of Damage – Students work in small groups to create brief presentations on the factors that contributed to the differences in damage between Haiti and Chile (quake magnitude and epicenter location, infrastructure, economy and industry, building codes, population centers, government and culture, etc.), to form a comparison, perhaps using Venn diagrams.

Earthquakes through History – Small groups each take a specific historical earthquake to research, to contribute to a class Earthquakes Through History timeline. Each group should find out the same pieces of information, such as date, location, magnitude, affected area, human toll, damage to buildings and infrastructure, government and world response, and so on, along with photographs (if possible).

Rescue and Aid – Pairs research rescue, recovery, aid and rebuilding efforts in response to the Haiti and/or Chile (and/or Indonesia) earthquakes, and compare and contrast responses.

Impressions – Individually, students do creative or personal writing, or execute a fine arts project, in response to the disasters, inspired by the images and coverage they saw in the gallery, such as letters to those affected, found or original poems, collages or paintings.

News Reports – Each pair investigates how one news outlet covered one or both earthquakes (or all three, including Indonesia) and give brief presentations, then working as a group to compare the content and tone of the reports.

Going further | Students consult their notes and charts, and write down their unanswered questions about the earthquakes. They then find an artifact – photograph, document, article, chart, etc. – that answers, or at least meaningfully addresses, one of them. In an upcoming class create a mini-gallery walk of students’ artifacts and discuss whether or not students’ collected artifacts fully answer their questions. What questions still loom in their minds? Might they be answered at some point, or are some of them philosophical and unanswerable?

Alternatively or additionally, students might raise money to help those hurt by one or both of the recent earthquakes.

Standards | From McREL, for grades 6-12:

Geography

7. Knows the physical processes that shape patterns on Earth’s surface

8. Understands the characteristics of ecosystems on Earth’s surface

14. Understands how human actions modify the physical environment

15. Understand how physical systems affect human systems

16. Understands the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution and importance of resources

Language Arts

1. Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process

2. Uses the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing

3. Uses grammatical and mechanical conventions in written compositions

4. Gathers and uses information for research purposes

5. Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process

7. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts

Life Skills: Thinking and Reasoning

3. Effectively uses mental processes that are based on identifying similarities and differences

World History

44. Understands the search for community, stability, and peace in an interdependent world

Source : https://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/two-earthquakes-in-two-months-comparing-the-quakes-in-haiti-and-chile/

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