Many teachers believe a good way to engage students is to relate what's taught in school to things happening in the world.
That's the concept behind a new course offering at both Lakeville high schools next year. Called The Science of Natural Disasters, the course's teachers will not only use the all-too-real topic of natural disasters to interest students in science, they'll change the curriculum to study tornadoes, droughts and tsunamis as they're actually occuring.
"[The teachers] really wanted a course that was going to be exciting and catchy and relevant," said Elida Kane, secondary teaching and learning coordinator for the Lakeville district.
The elective is a collaborative effort between teacher Jim Christiansen from Lakeville North High School and Lynae Anderson from Lakeville South High School.
The teachers designed a syllabus that touches on every type of disaster, including earthquakes, floods, landslides, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and asteroid impacts.
But when a bona fide natural disaster occurs, Christiansen and Anderson may quickly alter their lessons to include the current event.
"Let's say tomorrow there's a tsunami," Kane said. "They might change what they're teaching so that it's real and relevant and students can research and talk about it in time."
Students have reacted positively to the new offering so far, Kane said.
The district plans to offer one section of the class at each high school in 2016-17.