Month: November 2015 (page 1 of 2)

InS 9: Psychology of Human Relationships

Brainstorm the following questions on paper:

What factors influence whether a person acts or does not act to help when they see someone in need? 

Are there cultures that are more helpful than other cultures? 

What are some of the motivations to help?

Now put that paper to the side and read the handout from Law et al 251-256 on social responsibility, prosocial behaviour and altruism and answer the following questions individually on a blog post:

  • What is the difference between altruism and prosocial behaviour?
  • Why do people help people?
  • Individually think of a situation in which you helped others, and analyse the reason/motivation for why you did it?
  • Post you on your blog and hyperlink it here

Part 2: In groups of two or three share your ideas for the brainstorming session and your answers to the handout questions.  And finally explain the situation where you helped and your reasons, and see if there might be other reasons why someone might exhibit the same behaviour.

Lastly, we will watch the PBS video on children being naturally altruistic.

Discussion: What are the strengths and limitations of the study?  Bring all your ideas and thoughts to tomorrow morning’s class.

IB12 – Hazards: Droughts

Pictures of the ongoing California drought

Bishop p. 111 – 116

Thake your notes on this shared google doc: IB12 -Hazards -Droughts

Define:  drought

Define flash floods:

1. Use this link to define, in your own words, the following terms:

  1. Meteorological drought
  2. Hydrological drought
  3. Agricultural drought
  4. Socio-economic drought

2. Find a map of the global distribution of droughts and their severity, and write a short description of the spacial distribution of droughts.

3. Explain the difference with your answer in Q2 and the global distribution of drought mortality



3. Explain the four physical reasons why droughts are more prominent in certain areas:

  1. Continentality
  2. Cold ocean currents
  3. ITCZ
  4. Rain-shadow effect

4. Describe:

  • the main features  of the Palmer Drought Indices and evaluate its efficiency in comparing droughts
  • The method of measuring rainfall

5 describe the following characteristics of droughts:

  1. Frequency
  2. Duration
  3. Speed of onset
  4. Areal extent
  5. Spatial dispersion
  6. Regularity

6. Case study: California / American South West  drought of 2012















Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Complete the case study questions on the doc:

Each of of you will read one article from MSNBC’s California drought special report or,  ormy diigo and briefly explain it to the rest of the class. 

Make sure these areas are covered:

  • Will El Nino end the drought?
  • Causes
  • Response
  • Prevention / management strategy (reduce use by 25%)
  • Land use planning
  • Economic impact
  • Measuring the drought
  • Social impacts
  • Environmental impacts
  • prediction

Remember to  read Christopher Ketchan’s Raizing Arizona by Friday

IB 12: Hazard Risk

Socratic discussion:

  • Define Risk
  • What is the difference between risk and vulnerability?
  • What variables are used to measure the Saffir Simpson Scale?
  • How do they predict hurricanes? How accurate are they?
  • What are the main threats of a hurricane? Name 3
  • How can we predict hurricanes?
  • What factors make a population more vulnerable to hurricanes?

Discuss these issues with Katrina as a Case study Risk Assessment Process


  • Examine the relationships between the degree of risk posed by a hazard and the probability of a hazard event occurring, the predicted losses and a community’s preparedness for it.
  • Explain the reasons why individuals and communities often underestimate the probability of hazard events occurring.
  • Discuss the factors that determine an individual’s perception of the risk posed by hazards.

Exercise 1: 

In your CS Hurricane CS notes, find the following values of a hurricane

  1. —Frequency
  2. —Duration
  3. —Areal Extent
  4. —Speed of onset
  5. —Spatial dispersion
  6. —Regularity

Exercise 2:

Image below: These are images showing sea surface temperature (left) and sea surface heights (right) from Augut 24th to the 29th. The dots indicate the location and intensity of Hurricane Katrina (circle data from the National Hurricane Center). Image credit: NOAA








  1. Describe Katrina’s intensity and direction [3 + 3]
  2.  Describe the relationship between intensity and sea surface temperature [4]

Exercise 3: Risk: Exposure of people to a hazardous event

Based on your Bishop reading p. 13,14. Complete the following questions:

  1. Define Risk [2]
  2. Basing your observation on the Park model, evaluate the risk to hurricanes of the people of New Orleans in August 2005. [10]

InS 9: Psych lesson 2: Nature vs Nurture

Introduction to Psychology and the study of human behaviour.

Nature vs nurture discussion

  •  What did your nature vs. nurture activity tell you?
  • Did you disagree with your parents on some parts?
  • Can you come up with a general correlation or rule?
  • Why do we need to consider ethics when conducting psychological studies?

Part 2:

twin studies nature vs. nurture.

  • Looking at twin studies and what they tell us.   What conclusion can we make from studying twins? How does this relate to you?

Watch the following clip on twins separated at birth, then answer the following questions:

  1. What unethical decision was responsible for the situation described in this video?
  2. Can you think of situation when it might be justified to be unethical in the pursuit of scientific knowledge of genetics or evolution?
  3. What is the most powerful evidence in this video that nature is more influential than nurture in explaining, predicting, or understanding human behavior?

Here is a more detailed video of the twin girls separated at birth.  Summarize the findings of twin studies and what they can tell us about the nature vs. nurture debate.

Write a blog post answering the questions. Hyperlink it here

IB11: Food and Health: Famine Case study

IB outcome: Examine the variety of causes responsible for a recent famine.















The World Food Program requires 3 factors to be evident before a famine is declared:
1. At least 20 percent of the population has fewer than 2,100 calories of food a day;
2. Prevalence acute malnutrition must exceed 30 percent of children; and
3. The death rate must exceed two deaths per 10,000 people, or four child deaths per 10,000 people per day.

Temporary Hunger: A short term need for food, triggered by physiological responses caused by food deprivation.

Starvation/Chronic Hunger: A state of extreme hunger which results from a shortage of appropriate food for a prolonged period of time.

Introduction to Famine in Ethiopia:

See this BBC report

As you watch the video, take notes of the variety of causes of Famine in Ethiopia. Divide your answers in S.P.E.E.D. sections:

The famine of 2003 (to date) in Ethiopia was the worst famine since the mid-1980s. About one fifth of the population was left without food and tens of thousands of people died as a result of starvation and malnutrition.

In groups, complete a detailed case study for each of the following sub topics on Ethiopia’s Famine in the year 2000s to answer the following question:

Examine the variety of causes responsible for a recent famine.

  • You will present your findings in front of the class on Tuesday
  • Create a one page factsheet with all information, arguments and sources.
  • Be careful not to research the 1980’s famine. 
  • Remember to focus all your answers on the impact of these factors on food security and famine



  • Consider:
    • Ethiopia’s varied ethnic groups
    • Ethiopia’s various religion
    • Health – Sanitation, access to freshwater,
    • Education
    • Access to healthcare
    • Traditional agricultural systems and land repartition


  • Consider: 
    • Role of Government
    • Selling and leasing of land to Chinese, Saudi and Indian TNCs (see above)
    • Ethiopia’s Debt, Debt 2
    • The role of the IMF
    • Government subsidies and the impact of IMF
    • Government denies there is a famine and lack of cooperation with NGOs
    • Benefits of Aid
    • Technology and infrastructure
    • The pressure and failure of MDGs – Link 1



  • Consider:
    • Remember our Hazards unit on drought (causes, speed of onset, duration etc)
    • Ethiopia’s geographic location, physical features and climate
    • Recent drought
    • Recent crop failure
    • Soil degradation due to agriculture
    • Reduction in biodiversity due to agribusiness
    • % of arable land


You will have today and tomorrow’s class  to research. You will present your findings on Tuesday.

On Thursday, you will have a summative, in-class essay on Famine in Ethiopia.

InS 9: Intro to Psychology

Introduction to Psychology and the study of human behaviour.

What is the nature vs. nurture argument?

What is behaviour?

What part of your Behaviour is based on:

  • your gender?
  • your parents?
  • your culture?
  • your friends?

Watch the BBC clip on gender stereotypes:


Summarize the findings of the Cambridge study in regards to adults and gender stereotyping, and the Hines study on monkeys and toy preferences. 

Watch the BBC short documentary on Eugenics and sport.

What is one possible explanation for the dominance of black athletes in sprint events? Why is this a dangerous and/or erroneous assumption to make?

Write a blogpost explaining your understanding of the Nature VS Nurture debate. Using examples, give your opinion on the theme. Is our behaviour dictated by our genes or our environment?

Post your blogpost link here


Using the Nature vs. Nurture (handout), read the arguments and then fill out the chart on the back, and check with your family tonight on whether or not they agree with you, and please bring your sheet completed to class on Friday November 27th, ready to discuss your answers.

IB12 – Long weekend homework: Anatomy of a Hurricane

This will be your third CS for this unit.

Part 1:

Read Bishop p. 92 to 104, browse the suggested readings  and watch all videos and answer the following questions.

Suggested readings:


  1. With the use of an annotated graph, explain the formation of hurricanes [4]
  2. Knowledge: How well informed were the people in the areas affected by Katrina about the hurricane risk? [4]
  3. Knowledge: How did the level of knowledge vary between different demographic, political and socio-economic groups? [5]
  4. Knowledge: How accurate were the predictions of the  magnitude of Katrina? How did they achieve such predictions? [5]
  5. Attitudes: Explain two different attitude of the people towards the hurricane risk? [2+2]
  6. Attitudes: How did attitudes vary between different demographic, political and socio-economic groups? [3]
  7. Practices: Did people act in the most appropriate way given their knowledge about the risk posed by hurricanes? [4]
  8. Practices: How did actions vary between different demographic, political and socio-economic groups? [3]
  9. How vulnerable are Americans to hurricane risk? What are the key factors that determine their vulnerability?(Attitude,Demographic profile, Socio-economic profile,Political leadership?) [6]
  10. Using only an annotated sketch map, discuss the demographic and socio-economic factors that influenced vulnerability to Hurricane Katrina [4]

Coriolis effect

Wait! According to this, shouldn’t Hurricanes spin clockwise in the Northern hemisphere and counter clockwise in the souther?

Comment on the pattern,  direction, magnitude, duration and spatial extent of hurricanes in 2008

Now have a look at Katrina!

Case study: Inside Hurricane Katrina


IB 11- F2: Areas of food sufficiency and deficiency

Review: Answer these questions

IB outcome: Explain how changes in agricultural systems, scientific and technological innovations, the expansion of the area under agriculture and the growth of agribusiness have increased the availability of food in some areas, starting with the Green Revolution and continuing since.

1: Take detailed notes of the following videos:

What is the green revolution?

 What are the drawbacks of the green revolution?


2. Read this article and answer the following question:

Explain the main lines of the Green Revolution [5]

With specific examples, discuss the benefits of the Green Revolution [5]

With specific examples, discuss the drawbacks of the Green Revolution [5]

3. Read Codrington p. 432 to 437 and answer questions 1, 2, 3, 4.

Due next class.



IB 12: Vulnerability

Explain the reasons why people live in hazardous areas.

Discuss vulnerability as a function of demographic and socio-economic factors, and of a community’s preparedness and ability to deal with a hazard event when it occurs.

Explain the reasons for some sectors of a population being more vulnerable than others

Describe strategies designed to limit the damage from potential hazard events and disasters.


Why do people live in vulnerable areas?

Haiti: Stop at 8:00

Exercise 1:

Groups 1 and 2: 5 people/group

Create a 5 minte presentation with labeled diagrams for one of these earthquake event:

Include all your notes in the earthquake CS document.

  • 3/11/11 Japanese earthquake
  • 12/01/10 Haiti earthquake


  • Population size
  • population density
  • GNI per capta
  • HDI ranking
  • Early warning system in place
  • Government expenditures on hazard prevention and response
  • Building regulations
  • Map with fault zone and epicenter
  • Magnitude
  • Time of day
  • Duration
  • Areal extent
  • Speed of onset
  • Types of waves
  • Types of faults
  • Basic vocabulary

Describe the damage done in terms of:

  • Death toll
  • Injury
  • Insurance claim
  • ground shaking
  • liquefaction
  • Tsunamis
  • Landslides
  • Fires

Group 3: 2 people

  • Using the worldwide earthquake statistics from, calculate the average number of earthquake/year for each of the following categories, in the past three decades:
    • 6 to 6.9
    • 7 to 7.9
    • 8+
Richter scale magnitude 80s avg/year 90s avg/year 00s avg/year
Magnitude 6-6.9 98 133 146
Magnitude 7-7.9 10.1 14.7 13
Magnitude 8+ 0.4 0.6 1.3

 Then, answer the following questions:

  • What conclusion can you gather from the calculations you have completed?
  • Can you predict the number of earthquakes that will happen in a given year? Decade?
  • How could you make more accurate predictions?

2. Find an article describing methods of earthquake prediction associated to 2 of the following. Describe the method and evaluate its efficiency in predicting earthquake events.

  • Seismicity
  • Changes in the ionosphere
  • Electromagnetic indicators
  • Unusual animal behavior

3:  Explain the key principles of the Richter scale

You will present your response with with shared notes at the end of next class. 

Part 2:

On your shared CS notes, comment on the relief provided,


  • vulnerability
  • social issues
  • government response
  • international help
  • communication lines
  • infrastructure
  • public education
  • economic expenditures

Watch 2:30 to 7:00 and 9:00 to 16:00

IB 11: AIDS – Prevention Vs Treatment

What is HIV/AIDS?

  • What risk factors of HIV and AIDS are identified ?
  • Would you consider yourself to be at risk from HIV and AIDS ?
  • What social factors do you think could increase the risk for people to contact HIV and AIDS?
  • What are the benefits of preventing AIDS?
  • What are the benefits of Treating AIDS?
  • Which one is more effective?
  • What factors made you decide?

HIV/AIDS prevention in Thailand:

As you watch the video, consider the geographic factors that influence policy‑makers in Thailand on prevention as opposed to treatment of HIV and AIDS.

As a group, fill in this table based on the videos and this reading.

Why would Thailand prefer prevention to treatment?

  • Complete all questions from this blog post
  • Read Harper’s Magazine’s The Quinoa Quarrel handout by Lisa M.  Hamilton Be ready to discuss it next class.
  • Discussion:
    • Why is quinoa so good for food security?
    • What is your opinion on Peru’s stance on Food sovereignty? What are the risks of keeping quinoa strictly Peruvian?
    • What is the impact of patent laws on food production?
    • What is the impact of biotechnology on food security?
    • What have the Andean farmers learned from the potato?
    • What are the risks of migrating crop species?
    • What has been the interest of agribusiness towards quinoa?
    • Why is Bolivia protecting its plant species?
  • If you have some free time over the next few weeks, watch Fed Up or Food Inc or any documentary related to food and/or disease.
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