Natural disasters as unique socioscientific events: Curricular responses to the New Zealand earthquakes

Léonie Rennie, John Wallace, Grady Venville

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines earthquakes as a real-world, socioscientific issue to explore how schools, school curricula, school systems, and communities respond to the learning opportunities created by a natural disaster in the local or global community. We identified some of the issues that determine how different countries deal with earthquake preparation, response, and the factors that affect recovery. We then reviewed school-based, curriculum, and community responses to the Canterbury earthquakes in New Zealand as a case study. In the immediate aftermath, attention focused on the emotional support of students, teachers, and families, and efforts were made in combination with the community to return to normal schooling and curriculum stability in students' lives. We suggest that recovery from such natural disasters must be both flexible and integrated across curriculum and the community, drawing widely on available resources.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNavigating the Changing Landscape of Formal and Informal Science Learning Opportunities
EditorsDeborah Corrigan, Cathy Buntting, Alister Jones, John Loughran
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783319897615
ISBN (Print)9783319897608
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2018


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