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Alan E. Stewart, John A. Knox, and Pat Schneider

Abstract

Weeklong weather science and safety workshops were conducted with 66 teachers of kindergarten through eighth grade (K–8) in three Georgia counties using the American Red Cross (ARC) Masters of Disaster (MoD) curriculum. The workshop goals included building teacher interests in the MoD, increasing teacher knowledge about the MoD curriculum, increasing and evaluating its use by teachers, disseminating information about it to other teachers, evaluating students’ weather science and safety knowledge, and evaluating students’ and families’ weather safety behavior. Workshop participation produced significant increases in teachers’ knowledge about the MoD curriculum, their general knowledge of weather science and safety, and self-efficacy in teaching their students about severe weather. In the year following the workshops, at least 32 teachers from the workshops delivered 178 MoD lessons to 2,465 students in K–8. In a sample of 291 students whose teachers delivered an MoD lesson on lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes, or floods, students obtained a mean of 60% correct responses on a comprehensive postlesson follow-up test. In a follow-up study with a subsample of 94 parents whose children received instruction from the MoD curriculum, 71% of the families indicated that they had developed safety plans and took additional steps (e.g., assembled safety kits, identified evacuation routes, and/or gathered supplies) to prepare for severe weather. This project is thought to be the first of its kind to demonstrate systematically the effectiveness of weather science and safety education for teachers, their students, and the students’ parents.

Open access