In marine science and Earth/space science class, I love using a hurricane unit to kick off the school year. If you live in an area like Florida, Louisiana, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, or within the Atlantic Basin, you probably keep tabs on storms already. Why not bring it to your classroom? Even if you live outside that area, however, learning hurricane science is a great way to start the year off with an authentic, real-world connection.
Here are some simple hurricane project ideas and activities to get you started:
#1 Track The Hurricanes Every Day As A Warm Up
This is one of my favorite hurricane project ideas because it’s super simple to implement, and it doesn’t have to consume your class time. Each day as students come into the class, project or have students pull up NOAA’s National Hurricane Center Hurricane Tracking Map.
Then, have students fill in their tracking map. I like to use this free template from the National Hurricane Center. Hover over the storm on NOAA’s map to find the coordinates, and then have students record it on their sheet.
To keep things in order, each storm gets tracked in a different color. If there is no activity in the Atlantic that day, we continue learning hurricane science by going over a hurricane-related question using these warm ups.
I like to keep a large map on the board so if students miss a day they can update their individual map. I’ve found this activity gets students really invested and curious about the science of hurricanes.
If your students need some more practice with coordinate tracking, you can try this activity here. This includes a short lesson on latitude and longitude and practice activities.
#2 Teach Hurricane Science
There can be a lot of mystery surrounding hurricane science, so I love to dig into it with students. We talk about what a hurricane is and how they form. We learn to identify parts of a hurricane, the classification of a storm, and more.
#3 Hurricane Project Idea: Tracking and Preparing for a Tropical Storm or Hurricane
My favorite hurricane project idea is a PBL where students track and prepare for a hurricane. Even if your students don’t live in an area where there are hurricanes, this is still great information to know (and it can open their eyes to new experiences).
My students are pretty familiar with the preparation during hurricane season, and yet I’m still surprised by how little students know. They think it’s all about missing school and having hurricane parties (hey, it happens in Florida).
With this hurricane PBL, students will learn how to prepare for an impending hurricane and create a school-wide PSA to help others prepare for a storm. This all ties into our hurricane research, lessons, personal preparedness plans, and tracking the storms.
I hope that even if you don’t live in an area that gets hurricanes, you can see the benefit of diving into the science behind hurricanes. Try some of these hurricane project ideas and activities to make your students more aware.