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Aerial Photography and Mapping Lesson Plan: Images of Katrina


This activity from NOAA Ocean Service is about using aerial photographs to assess the impact of extreme weather events such as Hurricane Katrina. The activity features aerial views of Biloxi, MS post-Katrina and enables students to see evidence of the power of extreme weather on the environment.

Activity takes about 1-2 class periods. Computer and Internet access including Google maps is ideal but can be replaced.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Environmental observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system. From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the Sun, instruments on weather stations, buoys, satellites, and other platforms collect climate data. To learn about past climates, scientists use natural records, such as tree rings, ice cores, and sedimentary layers. Historical observations, such as native knowledge and personal journals, also document past climate change.
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Incidents of extreme weather are projected to increase as a result of climate change. Many locations will see a substantial increase in the number of heat waves they experience per year and a likely decrease in episodes of severe cold. Precipitation events are expected to become less frequent but more intense in many areas, and droughts will be more frequent and severe in areas where average precipitation is projected to decrease.
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mate change will have consequences for the Earth system and human lives
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Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
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C) Collecting information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:A) Human/environment interactions
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A) Human/environment interactions.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:E) Environmental Issues
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E) Environmental Issues.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Educators will need to practice doing this before working with the students.
  • The instructions for using Google maps have changed slightly. The hybrid view is now more intuitively called "satellite."
  • Extension suggestion: Build a link between the hurricane activity and climate change - potentially through this (middle school)activity: http://www.windows2universe.org/teacher_resources/hurricane_climate/teach_hurricane_climate.html
  • Activity suggests grouping students in 3-4; could also be pairs.
  • Potentially split up the activity steps amongst groups of students and use a jigsaw method or have students work on separate pieces and report back to the group.

About the Science

  • This activity from NOAA's Ocean Service offers a step-by-step analysis on how aerial photographs can be used to assess the impact of severe weather events, in this case Hurricane Katrina.
  • Focus is on measuring impacts on coastal communities rather than causes of hurricanes.
  • Good background reading to provide link to climate change: http://usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/links/hurricanes.htm
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • This exercise builds the student's skill in navigating a spatial browser Google Map and matching locations with aerial photographs from NOAA's National Geodetic Survey collection. Learners develop an appreciation for the impacts of extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Katrina.
  • The resource includes specific instructions on how to find features on the photographs.
  • Activity builds 21st Century Skills in students by using aerial images and Google maps to investigate extreme weather impacts.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • While this exercise is easy in principle – Google maps and the aerial photographs are quite easy to use – the actual matching of locations may be challenging for some users.
  • Designed to access websites but all maps and images can be printed for analysis if internet access is not available.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Overview of hurricanes from US Global Change Research Program:http://usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/links/hurricanes.htm

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