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UGA team leading weather science/safety workshops for teachers

Workshops are being held in Brantley, Calhoun and Glynn counties

Athens, Ga. – A team of University of Georgia science and educational experts are conducting a series of workshops during the next three weeks for school teachers in three Georgia counties-Brantley, Calhoun and Glynn-on what they should teach their students about the science of weather and how to respond safely when it threatens life and property.

Approximately 20 kindergarten through 8th-grade teachers are expected to attend each of the four-day Weather Science and Safety Workshops, according to project leader Alan Stewart, an associate professor in counseling psychology in UGA’s College of Education. His colleague, John Knox, an assistant professor in geography, is a co-facilitator for the project, which is being funded by the National Science Foundation. Stewart and Knox are part of the team who will teach the workshops.

The first workshop is being held for Calhoun County school teachers this week in Edison. The second will be held for Brantley and Glynn County school teachers June 4-8 in Brunswick.

“Our goal is to provide professional development for teachers about both the science and safety practices concerning hazards we routinely face in Georgia: lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes and floods,” said Stewart. “As part of this effort, the workshop uses the Masters of Disaster (K-8) curriculum that has been developed by the American Red Cross as a curricular resource that meets state and national performance standards in multiple curriculum areas.”

The workshop team consists of Stewart, a climate and weather psychologist; meteorologist Knox and his doctoral student, Aneela Qureshi; a science educator, and Azadeh Fatemi, a doctoral student in counseling psychology.

The workshop will introduce teachers to the curriculum and train them in its use. It will show teachers how to deliver the curriculum to their classes during the upcoming school year and to share it with their colleagues.

The Masters of Disaster program is centered on a series of ready-to-go lesson plans that help schools educate youth about important disaster safety and preparedness information. The curriculum contains lessons, activities and demonstrations on disaster-related topics that schools can incorporate into daily or thematic programming. The curriculum is non-sequential, allowing organizers to choose the lesson plans that best fit into their programming. The materials meet national educational standards and are specifically tailored for lower elementary (K-2), upper elementary (3-5) and middle school (6-8) classes.

“The education on essential preparedness skills that students receive through the program will carry them through life,” said Stewart. “Lessons are enjoyable and interactive, ensuring that children are having fun while internalizing important life skills though building capabilities in mathematics, language arts, social studies and science. The curriculum also can help reduce children’s anxiety about unknown aspects of disasters and tragic events and gain confidence to deal successfully with life’s unexpected turns.”

The Masters of Disaster series has almost 200 lesson plans incorporated, on such topics as:

preparing for any disaster;
coping with tough issues like terrorism, war and pandemic flu;
recovering and rebuilding from any disaster;
preventing injuries that happen at home;
fire prevention and safety;
tornadoes; and
wildland fires.
For more information on the project, see