NEW RESOURCE: Why Don't People Prepare for and React to Earthquake Hazards?

This set of resources is aimed at students in the 14-19 age range. The first consists of a mp3 file which are the 911 calls taken at the time of the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. This is used as a starter to set the scene and to encourage students to listen to the calls which are not always easy to hear and to enable them to focus on the tasks and become engaged with the topic.

There is a worksheet here: SFO_911_calls_worksheet.doc to accompany the audio file and to enable active listening skills.


There is also a worksheet (Earthquake_Mystery_student_worksheet.doc) to explain the mystery task, which is key to understanding the over-arching question: 'Why don't people  prepare for and react to earthquake hazards?' The emphasis is actually on adults often not exhibiting the correct response behaviour. Finally and core to the activities is this mystery sheet (earthquake_mystery.doc) with a series of statements on it. simply print out on card and cut and put into envelopes. I usually find that one between two is sufficient and enables them to think pair share as they work through the task.


The homework set with the main task should take approximately 1 week to carry out and again it is useful if students work in pairs!

ENJOY! All resources by Justin Sharpe, October 2011

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Comment by Justin Sharpe on August 29, 2013 at 17:40

I have just updated the audio file from RA ( RA=- Real Audio - a format not supported as much, if at all) to an mp3 file instead! Still a relevant way to help students understand the chaos confusion etc after this earthquake and a great way to start discussion on how some of the injuries and situations could be prevented through preparation, action, learning etc. Enjoy!

Comment by Justin Sharpe on October 13, 2011 at 17:33

Hey Yoli,

How are you? Thanks for the comments! That is such GOOD NEWS about the County Teen CERT programme, I know you have been working on that for a while now! So well done! If you guys can get it into High School elective courses that would be absolutely fantastic! If you have anything that you want to add to the site about it, start a new blog and add materials that way! Thanks for sharing, especially on IDRR Day!

Comment by Yolanda (Yoli) McGlinchey on October 13, 2011 at 16:57
This is really good material. Thank you for all your work and encouragement being the liaison between all the members. I wanted to let you know that we completed our first County Teen CERT program in August. It was a huge success and we are looking to possibly adding the CERT program to the high school elective courses.  
Comment by Justin Sharpe on October 4, 2011 at 17:08
Hi Marla,
Thanks for the comments! MEDC means More Economically Developed Country. I understand what you are saying about tendenko, but was trying to simplify the message for the mystery exercise (and squeeze it into the cards!) Unfortunately, when developing resources like this something is lost in translation, both literally and metaphorically but I will include some notes in the lesson plan to help with this. Some interesting points on what the right thing is...
Comment by Marla Petal on October 4, 2011 at 16:23

A Q and couple of comments:

1. Way to go!  Justin, please give yourself credit and add your name/date to the materials (which will hopefully evolve and expand over time).

2. What is MEDC?

3. Translation of "Tendenko" as 'scatter' really misses the point. The message is: do not do anything except head away from coast to higher ground".  "Scatter" could easily be read as 'wrong', but "Tendenko" is right!

Quite a bit of interesting research on problems with "loss aversion" decision-making coming out (Popular book "How We Decide" (Jonah Lehrer) makes quite accessible. While we have to prove the EFFECTIVENESS of certain actions, we have to argue for them in terms of AVOIDING LOSSES. We also have to make the distinction between the false feeling good you get when you think about doing the right thing, vs. the REAL feeling good you deserve when you do it.  Such complicated creatures that we are....



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