Exploring Stories and Theories of Nature and Science

Natural Disasters

Generation Genius

Children explore the science of natural disasters by learning how natural hazards impact organisms (including humans) and the environment.  They also learn about the role of engineering design in protecting people from natural hazards.

Pre-Assessment Questions

Please see Discussion Questions located under the video.  These can be discussed as a group or answered individually in children’s notebooks.



  • Notebooks & Pencils

Station 1

  • Wooden blocks
  • Lego blocks
  • Cookie sheet

Station 2

  • Tray that can hold water
  • Water & Sand
  • Plastic objects (i.e. trees, people, houses)
  • Small ball
  • Large ball

Station 3

  • Yogurt
  • Graham crackers
  • Paper plates
  • Spoon

Station 4

  • Box
  • Scissors
  • Rubber bands
  • Marker
  • Paper strip
  • Ruler
  • Cellphone or tablet


Show children a small cardboard box and a metal box.  Ask children to describe what they see.  Have them identify which box would most likely withstand an earthquake and ask children to explain why.  Next, as a class discussion, have children state the different types of natural disasters they know of.  Explain that scientists study natural disasters to help keep people safe simply because they cannot be eliminated.  Also mention that engineers construct buildings and design solutions to protect people during natural disasters.


Explain to children that they will explore three different types of natural disasters–volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis.  They will learn about the cause of each natural disaster and how humans are working to reduce the impact of these disasters.  Specifically, children will discover how to test the effectiveness of different engineering designs created to protect people from natural disasters.