Master of Disaster - Module 3

In it together: Neighbourhood preparedness

Suggested lesson time: 20 minutes | Research time: Up to teacher | Practice: 5 to 10 minutes/presentation


The third module in the Master of Disaster series is designed to help educators empower their students to identify their own strengths, identify strengths in others and work in teams to create a resilient community.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, students will be able to…

  • Explain the importance of working together and explain how to identify strengths in themselves and others
  • Assign duties and delegate tasks within a group based on skills and experience
  • Present group research, combining multiple concepts on a single topic as a shared responsibility
  • Simulate an emergency situation and recount it to the class, breaking down tasks by role


The primary goal of this lesson is to teach students the importance of collaboration and that when disaster strikes, we’re in it together. Use the PreparedBC website and the accompanying Master of Disaster key concept sheets to explore the concept of in it together before delivering this lesson. Remember that, as the last of the three learning modules, when students complete this module they become a Master of Disaster and earn a certificate of completion that you can print off.

Master of Disaster learning resources and supporting documents are also available in French

This module aligns with Provincial Curriculum Content and Big Ideas as outlined in the following table:

Subject Area Big Ideas Curriculum Content Competencies
Physical and Health Education

Learning about similarities and differences in individuals and groups influences community health

  • Sources of health information
  • Basic principles for responding to emergencies
  • Strategies for promoting the health and well-being of the school and community



Personal Awareness and Responsibility

Social Responsibility

Creative Thinking

Career Exploration

Practising respectful, ethical, inclusive behaviour prepares us for the expectations of the workplace

Leadership represents good planning, goal-setting, and collaboration

  • Personal identity
  • Leadership skills
  • Transferable skills
  • Community connections
Science Earth and its climate have changed over geological time (Gr 7)
  • Experience and interpret the local environment
  • Transfer and apply learning to new situations
Social Studies Media sources can both positively and negatively affect our understanding of important events and issues
  • Media technologies and coverage of current events
English Language Arts Exploring and sharing multiple perspectives extends our thinking
  • Access information and ideas for diverse purposes and from a variety of sources and evaluate their relevance, accuracy and reliability
  • Exchange ideas and viewpoints to build shared understanding and extend thinking

Approaches to achieving the listed learning outcomes

Start a discussion. Ask students to think of skills that would be useful in both responding to and recovering from an emergency. Use examples of hazards that have happened or could happen in your region. Use the multimedia resource bank to help facilitate this. Now ask students to think of types of people in their community who may need assistance during an emergency (young children, elderly, special needs).

In order to help your students identify strengths in each other and themselves, have them work in pairs and each write down one thing that they can do well and one thing that their partner does well. Then share with the group what they chose to say their partner is really good at and how they knew that. See if anyone’s partner wrote down the same thing they wrote down about themselves. Discuss with the class how we can identify strengths in ourselves and others, and how we know when we need to ask for help. Provide students some strategies or suggestions if it is needed.

Watch, then discuss. Use a news clip from the multimedia resource bank from an actual emergency that shows skilled professionals in action (this could be a researcher/expert, a first responder, a builder, a search and rescue person, or any combination of these). After the clip, ask students what skills these people had that allowed them to help others during an emergency. Start a discussion about how we know who can help us and why (identifying first responders and what they represent), and what types of skills students hope to have in the future that they think will be useful in emergency situations.

Lead the lesson your way! As their teacher, you are the expert on how your students learn best. Feel free to use the supporting resources to teach this lesson your way, combining methods or choosing your own style altogether. Just be sure your students leave the session having achieved the learning outcomes. 

Suggested activities:

Final group research project: In the theme of identifying strengths in ourselves, in others and conducting group work and presenting group results, the final of these three modules should end in a collaborative group project. Below find several suggested final projects or adapt a suggested activity to fit your classroom.

Historical disaster news report

Working in groups of four or five, have students research a historical disaster. Direct them to the Master of Disaster multimedia resources to watch clips or read articles on past emergencies or disaster events in B.C., and have them choose an event to do their group project on. Have them each choose a newsroom/media role, and create a script to play out to their classmates that explains: what the event is, a brief synopsis of the science behind the event, what is happening in the community(/ies) affected by the event, and plans moving forward. Each student should play a different role, for example, if the event was weather related, one student may be a meteorologist, two may be news anchors, one may be a community member who is interviewed for the story, one may be a non-profit employee who is opening a reception centre. The roles should make sense for the story of their event. Students should pick roles based on their interest and expertise, and in order to achieve the outcomes of identifying strengths in themselves and others, write a brief reflection on the activity after their presentation, saying what they found challenging, what they enjoyed and why each person was identified for each role.

Simulating an emergency in your neighbourhood

Working in groups of four or five, have students choose a fictional disaster and fictional personas for themselves. Use the fictional character profiles provided to facilitate this or give students the option to make up their own. Have students make up a neighbourhood and, using their identified strengths and characteristics, simulate what would happen if their neighbourhood lived through that event, including what responsibilities each of them would take on and how they would overcome this event together.

Example: a large flood wiped out their street, one neighbour is a nurse (he/she responds initially when people are injured), one neighbour is a carpenter (he/she helps rebuild), one neighbour is a stay-at-home parent (he/she accounts for the neighbourhood’s children, picks them up from school while other parents are at work, reaches out to elderly neighbours who may need assistance, contacts everyone’s out-of-area contacts), one neighbour works for BC Hydro and is responding to the emergency and helping the greater community. Once students have created their response and plan as members of a neighbourhood, have them explain the event to the class, what each of their roles are, and what they would do to respond to this event with an “in it together” approach.  

Evaluation and assessment

Teachers can download a template rubric to support your evaluation of this module. 

Resources and materials

Module 1: Personal preparedness: know the risks, make a kit >

Module 2: Prepare your household: make a plan >>