ERIC Number: EJ705146
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Reference Count: 35
Natural Hazards in Latin America: Tectonic Forces and Storm Fury
Blanchard-Boehm, R. Denise
Social Studies, v95 n3 p93 May-Jun 2004
The study of natural hazards, such as floods, hurricanes, and seismic disturbances, is most frequently relegated in American schools to middle school earth sciences courses or high school requirements in physical or environmental science. In those classes, the emphasis is on geophysical, "process-oriented" events or on what causes them and how they manifest themselves. Once human impact is introduced, natural hazards become essential content for social studies learning, problem-solving, and developing skills in global citizenship. Although the geographical focus of this article is on Latin America, the messages in this research pertain to global citizenship and are applicable to all social studies students. No citizen anywhere on Earth is immune from the vagaries of natural hazards. Curricular guidance for the study of natural hazards and their impact on humans comes from the study themes proposed by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), particularly Theme 3--People, Places, and Environments. In addition, the study of natural hazards and their impacts on society is also pertinent to Theme 8--Science, Technology, and Society, and Theme 9--Global Connections (NCSS 1994). In Geography for Life: National Geography Standards, 1994, the importance of people, places, and environment is also addressed in the following: Essential Element 2--Places and Regions, Essential Element 3--Physical Systems, and especially in Essential Element 5--Environment and Society (Geography Standards Project 1994). In this article, the author stresses the importance of the interaction between the physical and human environments. A retelling of natural hazards in Latin America is not only a story of the Earth's violent processes but also a chronicle of human suffering and misery. As such, it represents a clarion call for understanding, concern, and, perhaps, even civic action on the part of social studies teachers and learners.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Sciences, Geography, Social Studies, Natural Disasters, Plate Tectonics, Global Approach, Interdisciplinary Approach, Human Geography
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South America