The February 28, 2013, Florida Sinkhole

Learning Objectives

Students will read a recent science news article and discuss the content.
Depending the on the article, students may be asked to draw connections to current events or other classroom exercises.

Standards Addressed

Depending on the article, one of these standards may be most appropriate:

Subject Area - 1: Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

     Standard Area - 1.3: Reading, Analyzing, and Interpreting Literature - Fiction and Non-Fiction

          Grade Level - 1.3.6: GRADE 6

               Standard - 1.3.6.A: Read, understand, and respond to works from various genres of literature

                    Assessment Anchor - R6.A.2: Understand nonfiction appropriate to grade level.

Preparation Time Needed

<30 minutes, enough time to read the article and associated questions, answer the questions, and possibly come up with more that are relevant to recent class exercises. 

Activity Description

(Part of the PAESTA In The News - Current Events in Earth and Space Science Series. This series compiles current resources and background materials for recent scientific events in the news. Questions are provided with each topic, written across Bloom's Taxonomic Scale, and can be used for classroom discussion and/or as a writing prompt at the beginning/middle/end of an instructional unit.)

A devastating sinkhole occurred in Florida on February 28, 2013, raising questions and concerns about this incredible phenomenon. Around 20% of the U.S. lies in areas susceptible to sinkhole events, highlighting the need for research and to be informed about this hazard.

Articles to Share with Students

General Information

Questions for Classroom Discussion

  • What is a sinkhole? How does a sinkhole form?
  • Why are sinkholes a common problem in Florida?
  • What is “sinkhole season”? Why does it occur?
  • Can sinkhole formation be triggered by human activity? Explain.
  • Is your home at risk of falling into a sinkhole? Why/why not?
  • What are some consequences that people may face as a result of sinkholes, especially in areas like Florida?
  • Should humans continue to build homes and businesses on land that is at a high risk of ground collapse from a sinkhole? Why/why not?

Compiled March 7, 2013, by L.A. Guertin. Teachers are encouraged to search for more recent articles and related discoveries.

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