Where Is Everyone Going?

3, 4, 5

This lesson is designed to help the learners understand how important it is to be prepared for an emergency situation and how it relates to animal welfare. The learners will use the information gained in this and other lessons to develop a plan of service in response to the need for emergency preparedness, especially as it affects animal welfare.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 45 minute class period

The learners will:

  • describe the types of forces of nature that pose threats to humans and animals.
  • identify potential emergencies that they or others might experience.
  • define the terms natural and human-made disaster.
  • define the term emergency and emergency preparedness.
  • define the term evacuation.
  • Teacher internet access for viewing video clips
  • Copies of Handout One: Directions for Hurricane Demonstration for each group of learners.
  • Copies of Handout Two: Letter to Families
  • ASPCA briefing paper on Handout Three: Emergency Preparedness: Background Information for teacher
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework: Send letter Handout Two: Letter to Families home explaining the unit as well as alerting them to the service learning activity in Lesson Three.



  1. Anticipatory Set: This video shows the formation of hurricanes as well as the destruction caused by hurricanes and storm surges. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP4rgvu4xDE

  2. Write the terms Forces of Nature and Natural Disasters and Man-made Disasters on the display board. Ask the learners what they think these terms mean and give some examples. (Some types of Natural Disasters are floods, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, winter storms, etc.)

  3. Tell the learners that a Natural Disaster occurs when a natural weather event or force of nature, such as a wildfire, earthquake or volcano eruption causes widespread destruction, often with human and animal lives being lost. Human-made disasters can be accidental or intentional.(Examples might include: chemical spills, industrial accidents, acts of terrorism, etc.)

  4. Write the term Emergency on the display board. Define emergency as an unexpected and sudden event that must be dealt with quickly. Allow time for the learners to share some examples of emergencies they may have prior knowledge of or personal experience.

  5. Using hurricanes as an example of a natural disaster, refer back to the videos shared in the beginning of this lesson or share with the learners another video that shows some of the devastation that can be caused by a hurricane. (Weather Wiz Kids http://www.weatherwizkids.com/?page_id=58)

  6. Define hurricane as a severe tropical storm with heavy rains and extremely strong winds. A tropical storm gains energy as it moves over warm ocean waters. Once it reaches land and begins to cross over the land, the energy begins to weaken but often not until it has caused severe damage to property, people and animals. The damage is usually caused by high winds as well as storm surges and floods as a result of the high winds. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when the winds reach at least 74 miles per hour.

  7. Have the learners create a hurricane demonstration, see Handout One: Directions for Hurricane Demonstration. (This demonstration might be more appropriate for a whole class demonstration depending on time and maturity of learners.)

  8. Arrange the class into teams of three or four learners. Provide each team with a clear container that will hold at least four quarts of water, a device for stirring the water (wooden spoon) and red or blue food coloring.

  9. Have the teams prepare their area using newspaper to protect the table from any spilled water and food coloring. Remind the learners that the food coloring will stain hands and clothing.

  10. Give each group a copy of Handout One: Directions for Hurricane Demonstration.

  11. Read the directions with the learners. Have them gather materials and perform the demonstration in their group.

  12. After the demonstration, engage the class in a brief discussion about the demonstration and hurricanes. Tell the learners that the rotation of the water is a simulation of the winds in a hurricane. The high winds usually cause a storm surge. A storm surge is simply water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. Surges and floods cause damage to property and kill animals and people. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/storm_surge.shtml

  13. Tell the learners that sometimes an emergency situation requires people to evacuate or leave their homes and towns. Define the term evacuation as a removal of people and domestic, farm, and zooanimals from a dangerous or potentially dangerous place to somewhere safe. Individual families should have a plan in place if they are asked to leave their home because of an emergency. Emphasize that this should include any pets that they have living with them. Pets should never be left behind. In the fall of 2005 during hurricanes Katrina and Rita, many people had to be evacuated. Many of those people had to leave their pets behind becausethey couldn’t take their pets with them when they had to evacuate. Many other people were killed because they refused to leave their pets behind. Based on the lessons learned from hurricanes Katrina, and Rita, the Federal Government passed legislation requiring communities seeking funds from the federal government for disaster preparedness to include provisions for family pets and service animals in their plans for evacuation and sheltering evacuees. The legislation is called PETS Act (Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act) The law also authorizes FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to provide additional money to create pet-friendly shelters and provide special assistance to pet owners (ASPCA Briefing Paper). That’s why it’s even more important to be prepared to evacuate pets. There is now a real need to inform people about the legislation and let them know that they can take pets to shelters and other places that they might need to stay during the storm. In order to do that, they need to be prepared. There are special things that their pets must have in order to be allowed to stay with them in shelters.

  14. Complete this lesson by telling the learners that hurricanes are not the only disasters that humans need to prepare for. Many situations that might cause a family to need to leave their home for a few hours or for a longer period of time for which they need to be prepared.


Teacher’s observation of learner involvement in group activities and discussions will form the basis for the assessment of this lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Give examples of needs met by government, business, civil society, and family.
    2. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe how citizens organize in response to a need.