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Educational Resources

Lesson 3 - Earth Disaster Lesson


In this lesson your students will learn that there are two major types of earth disasters and the causes of these disasters.


  1. Bookmark the SOS! Canadian Disasters website

  2. Print the Handout 3.1 Comparison Chart of Causes of Earth Disasters and make copies for your students.


90 minutes



Earth disasters take on two main forms: slides and cave-ins. Search out the causes of these two types of earth disasters by examining and analysing three Canadian earth disasters: Québec Rockslide of 1889, Frank Rockslide of 1903, and Springhill Mine Cave-in 1958.

Body of lesson

  1. Be sure to examine and report on these factors: weather, geology, and human activity. Use Handout 3.1 Comparison Chart of Causes of Earth Disasters to organize your answers.

  2. Use the primary and secondary resources posted on the SOS! Canadian Disasters website at as well as the websites related to each event listed below.
Québec Rockslide of 1889:
Frank Rockslide of 1903:
Frank Slide Interpretive Centre

Springhill Mine Cave-in of 1958:
Lost and Found Sound: Springhill
More Blood on the Coal in '58


Organize the class into small groups of three to five students. Ask each group to analyze the results of their research and draw as many conclusions as possible. To report their results ask them to select one of these approaches:

  • Written report with facts, figures, quotations, charts, footnotes and bibliography.
  • Role-play a television documentary news report using visuals to enhance the presentation.
  • Role-play a radio interview with world famous geologists about the causes of earth disasters.
  • Report the findings orally with a panel discussion on the causes of earth disasters. One student acts as the interviewer and the rest make up the panel of experts/specialists on this topic. Each could be a different specialist, for example: geologist, meteorologist, sociologist, politician, mining engineer, labour leader or social critic.

Assessment Opportunities

  1. Did he/she participate cooperatively in group and class discussions?

  2. Was the Handout 3.1 Comparison Chart of Causes of Earth Disasters completed thoroughly with clear, detailed answers?

  3. Did he/she work efficiently and cooperatively on the computer and Internet to find the required information?

  4. Has she/he demonstrated knowledge of the two main forms of earth disasters and what causes them? Can they apply this understanding of what causes earth disasters to the three Canadian examples studied in this lesson? Were they able to draw conclusions about the causes, nature of, and effect of earth disasters on the people and communities involved?