Reviewed by Geraldine (Gerry) Waller
Middle School Teacher
Hurricane! An Event-Based Science Module by Russell G. Wright capitalizes on the universal interest in the weather and natural disasters to teach meteorology. Using the tremendous energy generated by Hurricane Andrew as an example, students work in cooperative groups to study concepts associated with meteorology.
As with other modules in the excellent Event-Based Science series, the lesson begins with a video presentation of an actual event. Hurricane Andrew’s progress is shown through weathercasts given by a Miami television station over an interval of several days. After this introduction, students work in teams to construct their learning over a four-week period. Team members are assigned specific, interdisciplinary tasks that are all tied to a final newspaper product.
Each of the three parts of the student book provides relevant background material and investigations. The section entitled In the News includes USA Today articles chronicling Hurricane Andrew and its aftermath. Included in the Discovery File sections is scientific background on topics such as the formation of hurricanes, hurricane preparedness, and meteorological instruments. On the Job features interviews of people employed in related fields and connects students to the world of work. Science activities require standard equipment and are varied enough to fully engage students, and the liberal incorporation of maps, charts, photographs, and anecdotes maintain this interest.
The clearly written teacher’s guide portion of the module features performance assessments, scoring rubrics, and teaching tips. Students are able to make subject area connections through interdisciplinary lessons integrating science, math, English, and social studies. The author suggests that teachers encourage students to go beyond the material contained in the module--incorporating the unit when hurricanes are most likely to occur is one possible way to build on student interest. Hurricane! provides a meaningful, fascinating, and engaging introduction to the science of meteorology.
Review posted on 11/7/2000