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Play it Safe!

Activity Description

Play it Safe

Students will learn how the U.S. Census Bureau helps emergency responders provide support during natural disasters. Then, the teacher will set up various stations around the room to encourage peer-to-peer learning in small groups. Students will rotate from station to station, completing tasks such as creating an emergency preparedness kit, determining the states with the highest risk for hurricanes, and reviewing a series of photos of houses to determine which are most likely to survive a natural disaster.

Suggested Grade Level


Approximate Time Required

90 minutes

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to describe and analyze the effects of environmental hazards on people.
  • Students will be able to describe how people change their behaviors in response to environmental
  • Students will be able to use census data to explain how prepared U.S. residents are for natural disasters.
  • Students will be able to create a sample disaster preparedness kit, determining the necessity of items for
    specific disasters in their community.

Materials Required

  • The student version of this activity, 18 pages
  • Large sheets of paper, such as those on a self-stick easel pad
  • Markers
  • Supplies for an emergency preparedness kit (see more information in the “Before the Activity” section)

Activity Items

The following items are part of this activity. The items and their sources appear at the end of this teacher version.

  • Item 1: How Ready Are We?
  • Item 2: Coastal Areas
  • Item 3: Coastline Population Trends in the United States: 1960 to 2008

For more information to help you introduce your students to the Census Bureau, read “Census Bureau 101 for Students.” This information sheet can be printed and passed out to your students as well.

Teacher Notes

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms Taxonomy

Students will analyze the effects of environmental hazards on people.


Elementary School


  • Emergency preparedness
  • Environmental hazards
  • Infographics
  • Natural disasters

Skills Taught

  • Analyzing data
  • Drawing conclusions
  • Making predictions
  • Peer-to-peer learning


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