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Vanderbilt University’s Risk Education Curriculum Development project was funded as part of the 2015 HUD National Disaster Resilience Competition. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) was one of 40 award recipients nationwide. This curriculum development project specifically falls under the Hazard Mapping, Assessment, and Education (HazMAE) portion of the grant, led by the University of Memphis.

The Risk Education Curriculum is composed of 11 modules. The first seven modules have been made available as of May 2020. The other modules are still under development. The project team would appreciate input and feedback on the modules from teachers and others that utilize the content. We are also interested in having partnerships with teachers to track student growth as they are exposed to the content.

Each module is designed such that it falls within the curriculum itself but can also be used independently. Each module contains a lecture presentation (available as a PPT file) and a teacher’s guide to the module (which includes possible discussion topics and activities). These can be found under Modules. Academic papers and journals cited in the presentations can be accessed from the information given on the References page. Supplemental multimedia resources such as TED Talks, informational videos, and podcasts that are relevant to a module’s contents are also available and displayed under Multimedia Resources.

Project Goals and Objectives

This project aimed to develop a curriculum for high school students in the Rural by Nature target area (West Tennessee) to provide awareness and understanding of the risks associated with extreme weather and seismic events.

Throughout this curriculum, students will be gain a familiarity with the following concepts:

  • What is risk? How is it defined? How is it calculated?
  • What are the differences and relationships between risk, vulnerability, and resilience?
  • What is considered an extreme weather event or a seismic event?
  • What is the likelihood of such an event occurring in one’s community?
  • What are the potential impacts associated with those events?
  • What can we do to plan, respond, and recover in a manner that increases community resilience?

Potential Impacts

This project will advance the understanding of vulnerability and natural disaster risk among high school students with a focus on those risks that are most likely in the community. Ideally, this information will spread via the students’ networks of family and friends. The information provided by this curriculum will help high school students in the affected regions better understand risk and effective management. As these students progress into their roles as community leaders in the future, they will have the understanding required to build a more resilient community and share their knowledge with others.