Winds of Change - The Galveston Hurricane of 1900

Social Studies, Grades K - 3

Students will use primary source video to analyze the effects of the 1900 hurricane on Galveston Island. Students will use their geography skills to identify Havana, Cuba and Galveston, TX and discuss why information about the storm was not shared between the two locations at the time.  Additionally, student will read accounts from various books, including historical fiction, about the Galveston Hurricane, the biggest natural disaster in American history. Students will work in literary circles to draw parallels between the moving images and the written descriptions of the event. 

 

  • Prior Knowledge Prior Knowledge
  • Hook A ... Hook A Hook B
  • Lesson Lesson
  • Closing Closing
  • Resources Resources
  • TEKS TEKS
  • Lesson Plan Use Lesson Plan Use
  1. Students should know that Galveston is a city in Texas, and through the course of this lesson they will learn it is on the Gulf Coast.
  2. Students should know that a hurricane is a natural disaster that begins over water, moves to land, and then dissipates.
  3. Students should be aware of the devastating impact of some natural disasters.


 
  1. Display a map of Texas for the class. Ask if anyone can locate your city.
  2. Once your city has been found, ask if anyone knows where Galveston is. Have a student (or yourself) point to Galveston on the map.
  3. Discuss the fact that Galveston is an island, with water on all sides of it. Ask students what some advantages are to living on an island (possible answers: fishing, trade, protection). Ask students what they think might be some disadvantages to living on an island (possible answers: how people get to mainland, storms being dangerous, etc.).
  4. Explain that Galveston was a large city about 100 years ago, but it was devastated by a hurricane because the people of the city did not know it was coming. Today we use technology to predict and communicate hurricanes, but in 1900, we did not have that ability.
  5. Tell students that today they are going to watch a film from 100 years ago that shows the destruction of a hurricane.
  6. Ask if anyone can name a natural disaster. Write students’ responses on the board and make sure you list a variety of them.
  7. Using a map or globe, ask students to identify where many of these natural disasters occur, from tornadoes in the Midwest and earthquakes along fault lines to hurricanes on the gulf coasts, etc.
  8. Ask students if they can name any recent natural disasters and discuss when and where they occurred.
 
  1. Watch the film  Galveston Hurricane of 1900 - Panorama of East Galveston . (This film illustrates the significant damage wrought by the hurricane that struck Galveston on September 8, 1900.)
  2. Ask students:
    1. How does this film look different from the images you see on your TV at home?
      1. Black and white, blurry images, jumpy images
    2. Why does this look different from the images we watch?
      1. This was filmed when moving images were first invented and had not been perfected.
  3. Explain to students that the reason the hurricane was so destructive is because no one knew it was coming. Ask students:
    1. How do we know a hurricane is coming today?
      1. Weather experts have technology to track the hurricane.
      2. Just like the images of the video aren’t perfect, communication wasn’t perfect back then either. There were no telephones or computers for countries to tell one another about the hurricane.
    2. How do people get ready when a hurricane is coming?
  4. Provide students with a map of the Texas coast. Have students locate and label Galveston again. If your town is on the coast, have students locate their hometown also.
  5. Explain that the Hurricane came from the east and passed by a country called Cuba. Have students label Cuba and trace the path of the Hurricane by drawing it in.
  6. Have students draw the towns of Galveston and Havana to show how unconnected they were in communicating about the hurricane.
 
2nd and 3rd grade differentiation
  1. Have students scale the map to show the true distance between Galveston and Cuba.
  2. Read a segment of Isaac’s Storm to the students and have them pretend they were in Galveston the day of the hurricane. Ask them to write (or draw a picture) about what they would have seen, felt, heard, and experienced.
  3. Or read segments of The Great Storm: The Hurricane Diary of J.T. King, Galveston, Texas, 1900 and Dark Water Rising to the students and have them pretend they were in Galveston the day of the hurricane.  Ask them to write (or draw a picture) about what they would have seen, felt, heard, and experienced. 
    Or have student work in small groups of four and read assigned chapters of The Great Storm. Have students discuss how the book describes the period before, during and after the storm.
  4. Compare and contrast the book’s description of the event with the moving images of Galveston shot in 1900 after the storm destroyed the city.
  5. Ask students to also compare and contrast the footage of the Galveston Hurricane with today’s news coverage of natural disasters.
  6. Research Thomas Edison and his contribution to moving images.  The Galveston Hurricane was one of the first major events in America to be filmed and viewed by a wide audience.  
     
Remind students that today we have better technology and communication that enables us to prepare for hurricanes, but we should still take caution because hurricanes are a powerful force of nature. Today, with the use of Internet and phones, we can easily communicate between countries to warn about oncoming storms.
 

 

Social Studies Kindergarten
 
5A – Identify the physical characteristics of place such as landforms, bodies of water, natural resources and weather
 
5B - Identify how the human characteristics of place such as ways of earning a living, shelter, clothing, food, and activities are based upon geographic location
 
13B - Describe how technology helps accomplish specific tasks and meet people's needs
 
14B – Obtain information about a topic using a variety of valid visual sources such as pictures, symbols, electronic media, print material, and artifacts
 
Social Studies Grade 1
 
5B - Locate the community, Texas, and the United States on maps and globes
 
6A - Identify and describe the physical characteristics of place such as landforms, bodies of water, natural resources, and weather
 
16B - Describe how technology changes communication, transportation, and recreation
 
17B – Obtain information about a topic using a variety of valid visual sources such as pictures, symbols, electronic media, maps, literature, and artifacts
 
Social Studies Grade 2
 
5B - Create maps to show places and routes within the home, school, and community
 
6B - Locate places of significance, including the local community, Texas, the state capital, the U.S. capital, major cities in Texas, the coast of Texas, Canada, Mexico, and the United States on maps and globes
 
7A – Describe how weather patterns and seasonal patterns affect activities and settlement patterns
 
7C - Explain how people depend on the physical environment and natural resources to meet basic needs
 
18B – Obtain information about a topic using a variety of valid visual sources such as pictures, maps, electronic sources, literature, reference sources, and artifacts
 
Social Studies Grade 3
 
4A - Describe and explain variations in the physical environment, including climate, landforms, natural resources, and natural hazards
 
5B - Use a scale to determine the distance between places on maps and globes
 
17E – Interpret and create visuals, including graphs, charts, tables, timelines, illustrations and maps
 
All content in this lesson plan is copyright of the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. Use of this lesson plan is free to educators for classroom use. It may not be reproduced without credit or used for commercial purposes.