Learning Resource Type

Lesson Plan

Be Prepared! You're the Teacher--How Will You Teach Others to be Prepared for an Emergency?

Subject Area

Social Studies




Students will create a commercial, song, poster or skit to inform others about what to do to prepare for a natural disaster.  Students will complete an online activity about disaster preparedness.

    Social Studies (2010) Grade(s): 3


    Identify ways to prepare for natural disasters.

    Unpacked Content



    • flood-prone areas
    • earthquake insurance
    • flood insurance
    • hurricane shelters
    • tornado shelters
    • emergency
    • evacuation routes


    Students know:
    • Appropriate ways to prepare for natural disasters in order to minimize negative effects.
    • Vocabulary: flood prone areas, earthquake insurance, flood insurance, hurricane shelters, tornado shelters


    Students are able to:
    • Establish an emergency plan.


    Students understand that:
    • There are appropriate ways to prepare for natural disasters in order to minimize negative effects.

    Primary Learning Objectives

    I can explain how to prepare for an emergency.  

    I can create a video or visual to demonstrate to others how to prepare for disasters.



    Play the noise of a smoke detector using an online video. The teacher can then ask the students if they know what that sound means (get out there's a fire!). The class can have an open discussion of what to do if there is a fire at home or at school.  The teacher can make an anchor chart either on an Interactive Whiteboard, chart paper, or dry-erase board of the steps to take in a fire.


    The teacher can tell students that we don't want a fire to happen, but we should be ready and know what to do.  What is an emergency?  Call on several students to share.  What are some emergencies we might have in our area?  Remind students that emergencies can not be planned for, but we can be prepared when they happen.

    The best thing for an emergency is to be prepared ahead of time and remain calm.  One way to be prepared is to have an emergency kit.  Another way to be prepared is to have a safe place to go in bad weather.    

    Turn and talk to your partner:  What do you think is the most important thing to have in an emergency kit?

    The teacher can call on students to share what they think is most important to have in an emergency kit and list them on the board or Interactive White Board.

    Allow students time to make a list of ways to prepare for an emergency that will force you out of your homes such as a flood, tornado, or fire or a list of things to have packed in an emergency kit.  Give students 2-3 minutes to brainstorm and write their ideas down.

    Lead the students in an open discussion and make a class list of how to be prepared for an emergency. 

    This list might include some of the following:

    • Phone numbers of family members written down (cell phones might not work)
    • A safe place to meet
    • What to do if you can't find your Mom or Dad
    • Prepare and know where an emergency kit is in your house
    • Make an emergency kit for in the car
    • Bring your favorite stuffed animal to comfort you
    • Go to a storm shelter or safe place

    The teacher will tell students that they will be teachers today and teach others about what to do in an emergency.  They can choose how they want to present their information.  The choices include a commercial, a skit, a song, or a poster.

    Divide the students into pairs or groups of 3 or 4.  Students can work in table groups or divide each table into pairs (assuming tables are groups of 4 or 6).  

    After students have written their ideas down, instruct them to choose one of the presentation options (commercial, skit, song, or poster).  Give each group a requirement list to use as they work.

    Allow students time to create their presentation.  When all groups are finished, allow students to present to the class.

    Students may also visit the FEMA website for ideas on what to include.


    As students finish, allow them to visit the Disaster Master Game or Build a Kit Game.

    Assessment Strategies

    The teacher can use observation as the students work in groups to complete their project.

    The teacher may also use the requirement list for students to assess their completed project.


    If a student has completed the activity, they can be allowed to make a newspaper ad for an emergency kit. They will decide what needs to be in the kit and how much to charge for it.


    Students who are struggling may be allowed to work in smaller groups with a peer tutor. 

    Students may be given fewer requirements so that they are successful at the assignment.

    Approximate Duration

    Total Duration

    31 to 60 Minutes

    Background and Preparation


    The teacher should be aware of the background of students and know if they have experienced an emergency in their lives and be careful not to make these students more anxious.

    Materials and Resources

    Materials and Resources

    Pencils, Crayons, and Paper

    Chart Paper or Dry-Erase Board/Chalkboard

    Technology Resources Needed

    Internet-Enabled Device 

    Device with Camera and Video-Recording Capabilities

    Interactive Whiteboard (optional)