Whilst evaluating my current lessons for year 10 looking at weather and climate, I realised that I did not really have a big event lesson for this half term. I used the study of Typhoon Haiyan to rectify this!
I firstly booked a room upstairs to act as a briefing and debriefing room for proceedings. Then I completely trashed my room, upturning tables, chairs, hanging stuff everywhere, covering some things in bin bags, making a plastics door to cut through to enter, turned all the electric off and then met the class, taking them upstairs. When entering the briefing room, each pupil had to fill in an entrance ticket so I could assess their knowledge of the topic to aid my monitoring later on.I then, whilst wearing a dust suit, walked the pupils through the task. We were going to have the length of time it took the eye of the hurricane to pass over to find out as much as possible about Haiyan from the clues I have flagged in the disaster zone. These clues were text analysis, a puzzle, choropleth map and some photo analysis among others. Each task was differentiated and I encouraged them to work in groups. We entered the room and the countdown began. I played helicopter and wind noises, getting louder and quieter at different times. The pupils had 35 minutes to work through the tasks. Some were hidden, so had to be found and flagged as well.
As the wind noises increased, we evacuated the disaster zone to the safety of the debrief room, where pupils knowledge of what they had undertaken was challenged with differentiated exam style questions and self assessed mark schemes. The pupils, upon exit, then had to complete the exit aspect of their ticket, which I took in to assess understanding and areas to improve the lesson.
This was one of the most ridiculous but really fun lessons I have done and the kids really seemed to get onboard with the idea and the whole class said how memorable it was and how much they enjoyed it. The following parents evening contained a series of chats about the lesson as well with many appreciative parents!
I read that you should try and do two memorable lessons for each year group per topic and using this alongside some performing arts lessons in weather seemed to work really well!