the quake


Use these lesson extensions to continue discussion of this topic in the classroom.

  • Use resources such as PBS NewsHour’s “Earthquake Aftermath in Haiti” to assemble a timeline of events related to the earthquake tragedy and the actions of various relief organizations to provide short- and long-term assistance to the Haitian people. Each entry could include a relevant photo from the Internet with a caption and a two- to three-sentence summary of the aid provided and the effectiveness of this aid. The timeline could be kept on an ongoing basis and the results of international aid efforts analyzed periodically.


  • In small groups, assign students to brainstorm answers to the questions below. Provide each group with the opportunity to share its ideas with the class. Web sites such as the Center for Global Development can provide information about aid effectiveness.
    • WHO should be responsible for supplying and coordinating international relief efforts when a large-scale disaster strikes anywhere in the world?
    • WHAT types of supplies and aid should receive first priority in disaster areas?
    • WHEN should aid to a country that has experienced a large-scale disaster end?
    • WHERE should the countries of the world get the resources necessary to help one another when a disaster strikes?
    • WHY is it important for the countries of the world to come to one another’s aid in the event of large-scale disasters?
    • HOW can coordinating relief efforts and encouraging countries to work together build stronger political and economic relationships among the countries of the world?

  • In small groups, assign students to read one interview from The Quake and create a summary with the following information:
    • Name of person interviewed and his/her title, position or connection to Haiti
    • This person’s ideas about how aid was delivered to the Haitian people
    • This person’s ideas about how aid should be delivered in future disaster situations
    • This person’s ideas about the positive and negative impact the earthquake could have on Haiti’s economic and political status in the world
    • This person’s ideas about the role of the international community in the rebuilding of Haiti
    • Other relevant ideas this person presented about the political and economic interdependence of the world’s countries
    • Student summaries can be done in a variety of formats, including a multimedia or audio presentation (PowerPoint, VoiceThread, Vocaroo), in a written format, or through an oral presentation by group members. When each group has completed its presentation, the class can discuss what it has learned and evaluate the effectiveness of the actions and suggestions provided by the people at the center of each interview.

  • For an interesting look at economics following the Haitian earthquake, watch “The Economy of a Tent City.” Review the concepts of supply and demand and discuss how competition affects prices and the profitability of businesses. Look at how the idea of the cell phone-charging station/movie theater uses creative marketing techniques (charge your phone and see a movie for free) to encourage and build business. Examine what, if any, positive effects the earthquake could potentially have on business development and entrepreneurship in Haiti and how this might help with the reconstruction and redevelopment of the country as a whole.


  • After watching the video, some students may want to help the people of Haiti or others in need. The Web sites listed here are a great place to get started. Have students develop an action plan for serving a cause important to them and report back to the class on their progress.
    • Be the Change: This site provides suggestions for how to help others and allows participants to reflect and discuss meaningful social change.
    • Do Something: This teen-focused site provides a number of tools to get people involved in causes important to them.
    • This site raises awareness about a variety of causes and empowers people to take action.
    • Ordinary People Change the World: Use this site to read something positive, get connected to a charity or share your own story of inspiration.
    • Teen Activist: This online journal is organized for teens who want to talk about their efforts to volunteer, advocate, mobilize or protest.
    • Youth Noise: This site provides a space for youth leaders to act for causes they care about locally, nationally and globally.
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