Project Spotlight: The FEMA project

October 27, 2017

Rocket New Tech

Teachers: Melissa Saldana and Emma Weatherly

Course: Geo-Lit (combination AP Human Geography and AP Freshman English)

Grade: 9

Driving Question:

How can society prepare itself for inevitable natural disasters?


Project Snapshot

Teachers Emma and Melissa were watching the Hurricane Harvey coverage and as they were watching it, they realized it was a project. How do you map something and look at how humans interact? They started brainstorming with the class text of Most Dangerous Game, a story of a hunted man on an island, and began to look at the idea of “survival strategy.” They added maps, geo-spatial devices and technology from AP Human Geography and connected it to natural disasters.

 Student Products

  • Creation of natural disaster survival resource website that includes content on how natural disasters are predicted, how they are documented, and what is done during the relief efforts. The website must also include a section where students relate information to the popular literary work, Most Dangerous Game. This survivalist short story is taught in most high schools, and can be used to help students be better prepared for survival in their own lives.
  • Contributions to help victims of Hurricane Harvey

Teacher Reflection

“Our FEMA Project was incredibly insightful and allowed our students to fully embrace a collaborative learning environment.  They were able to connect classroom instructional content to authentic, real-world situations.  This project motivated them to be agents of change within their community.” – Missy Saldana, Rocket New Tech.

“This was the most authentic project we have ever done in our class. The students could literally turn on their TVs and watch Hurricane Harvey and many other natural disasters happen  in real time. The students also had the opportunity to learn what it really means to have empathy for others through their efforts to help fellow Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey.” –  Emma Weatherly, Rocket New Tech


We created our own Rubric for this project. You can view it here.


Student Reflections

“This project changed the way I see natural disasters, it showed me that I don’t have to live there to be affected by it or to go help. it showed me that it doesn’t matter where you live, you can help right there in your city, or you can go make the short trip and help out.”  – Eva Gutierrez

“A part of my family was in Houston and in Puerto Rico. Natural disasters can be very scary and can be very life threatening. Something that really stood out to me in this project is that you can prepare for most natural disasters. I think this is important because you can save your self and others around you, if you are prepared.” – Leila  Flores

“A personal connection I had to this was my family in Mexico has been dealing with earthquakes and aftershocks and it’s been terrible seeing my family go through that. So I know how other people feel if they also have any personal connection to any natural disasters.”  – Itzel Gandara

Teachers at New Tech Network can view the full project in Echo using the Community Tool.  Search the Community using this code:


Projects Spotlights allow a glimpse into the great projects that are taking place in New Tech schools across the country. To learn more about Project-Based Learning or the New Tech Network, please contact us here.


Tags: , , , ,