27 December 2013

IB Global Politics: The politics of natural disasters

So I've been remiss in getting this unit plan up for everyone to see. The Politics of Natural Disasters should cover roughly 6 weeks of coursework in the Power, Sovereignty, and International Relations portion in the IB Global Politics syllabus. This topic covers three natural disasters-Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti Earthquake of 2010, as well as well as Typhoon Haiyan. In addition, there's 2 games and three simulations interspersed throughout the flow of the unit. I also have to give special thanks to the small group of students who I have lunch with each Wednesday. The idea and selection of cases for this unit were the result of their interest in the subject (of course, the rest of the Year 1 students were also enthusiastic about studying this topic as well). This process reaffirms my belief about the amazing learning and work that can occur when you encourage students to have agency in their own learning.

The Politics of Natural Disasters
Essential Question
In what ways, and with what effects, are responses to and effects of natural disasters politicized?
Key Concepts
power, sovereignty, legitimacy, interdependence, state, civil society, international organization, non-governmental organization, multinational corporation, global governance, cooperation, conflict
Learning Targets

  • You will be able to understand how various forms of power is distributed at various levels of global politics.
  • You will understand how state power is operationalized and legitimized in global politics.
  • You will understand the ways in which non-state actors such as international organizations, non-governmental organizations, multinational corporations, and others function in and influence global politics. 
  • You will understand the nature and extent of the myriad of interactions amongst all actors and events in global politics.

Simulations & Games
Survival, Red Cross Emergency Response Unit, Stop Disasters, DS-30 (Veritas and Pulchra), Inside Haiti Earthquake

  • Class debrief on cases: Hurricane Katrina, Haiti Earthquake, Typhoon Haiyan
  • Team presentation, “The Blame Game” (Hurricane Katrina)
  • Team presentation, “Cause and Effect” (Haiti Earthquake)
  • Individual survey responses on Key Concepts
  • Paper 1-type response (25 marks)
  • Questions to be derived from extracts; taken from articles in bibliography
  • Paper 2-type response (25 marks)
  • “For what reasons, if any, are governments, international organizations, and/or non-governmental organizations responsible for caring for people citizens from disasters?”
  • Individual responses to summary survey on the politics of natural disasters



  • Facilitate and debrief “Survival”; 1 class period
  • Watch, discuss, and debrief The Storm (Hurricane Katrina); 2-3 class periods
  • Construct, present, and debrief “The Blame Game”; 1-2 class periods
  • Facilitate, “I used to think but now I think” VT routine, watch Panorama-the ICRC in Action Worldwide; 1 class period
  • Play and debrief “Red Cross Emergency Response Unit”; 1 class period
  • Watch and debrief How to step up in the face of disaster; 1 class period
  • Facilitate and debrief “DS-30”; 2 class periods
  • Read and debrief “The effects of politics on natural disasters: lessons learned from Bangladesh”; 1 class period
  • In class writing, Paper 2-type question; 1 class period
  • Watch, discuss, and debrief The Quake (Haiti Earthquake); 2-3 class periods
  • Construct, present, and debrief “Cause and Effect”; 1-2 class periods
  • Revise Paper 2-type question; 1 class period. 
  • Play and debrief “Inside Haiti Earthquake”; 1-2 class periods
  • Facilitate, "Circle of viewpoints" VT routine to watch and debrief on “Disaster Preparedness: Three Things to Know”; 1 class period
  • Play and debrief “Stop Disasters:’ 1-2 class periods
  • In class reading, choice of articles on Typhoon Haitian; 1 class period
  • Team presentation, “The effects of politics on natural disasters: Typhoon Haiyan”; 2-3 class periods
  • In class writing, Paper 1-type question
  • Summary survey and debrief on the politics of natural disasters; 1 class period