Hurricane Florence Informs Classroom Lessons

Lower School directions for hurricane simulation teacher understands the power of current events to teach inquiry and drive learning.
“The quickest door to open in the woods for a child is the one that leads to the smallest room, by knowing the name each thing is called. The door that leads to the cathedral is marked by a hesitancy to speak at all, rather to encourage a sharpness of the senses.” – Barry Lopez, Children in the Woods
As Hurricane Florence crept towards the eastern seaboard last week, 2nd graders showed up to class with plenty of questions. Science teacher Kathleen Dawson recognized the value of their organic, current events-infused energy. Quick answers are easy but close doors to inquiry. Instead, Kathleen came prepared with learning activities to help students explore their questions more fully. Equipped with water-filled cups, paper clips on strings, spoons, and tissue paper confetti, the 2nd graders simulated spiraling hurricanes and tracked their winds. See portions of the STEM lesson in action: Hurricane Inquiry and Simulation for 2nd Graders and Directions for 2nd Grade Hurricane Simulation.

Staff writer Danny Stock tells the stories of teaching, learning, competing, creating, and performing at Georgetown Day School. He is a former GDS second grade teacher and current parent.


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Georgetown Day School is a coed, preK-12, non-sectarian private school in Washington, DC with small class sizes and a diverse school community. Our comprehensive, innovative curriculum includes hands-on learning, honors and AP classes, as well as advanced-level math and STEM courses. An education is not just college prep and SAT scores. GDS teachers focus on providing the best education for each child, from elementary grades through high school. The school performing arts program includes theater, dance, and music. The athletics program offers competitive sports for student athletes, including cross-country, track, soccer, lacrosse, and crew/rowing. With our strong commitment to financial aid, an independent school tuition is affordable.