I Survived the Joplin Tornado, 2011

Teaching Ideas and Book Unit Samples for I Survived the Joplin Tornado, 2011I Survived the Joplin Tornado, 2011, Lauren Tarshis’s twelfth book in her popular I Survived Series, tackles the Joplin Tornado of 2011.

Eleven-year-old Dex runs into an old college pal of his dad’s, Dr. Gage, while out riding his bike through the streets of Joplin, Missouri. Dr. Gage has become famous with his television show, Tornado Mysteries. Dr. Gage comes by Dex’s home and invites Dex’s family to go tornado watching with him. Since Dex’s parents teach high school and must attend the graduation ceremony the next day, Dex plans to go out with Dr. Gage on his own.

As you can imagine, it doesn’t take long for Dex and Dr. Gage to be right in the middle of a tornado. This edge-of-your-seat book is sure to get your students ‘stirred up.’

FREE Teaching Ideas for
I Survived the Joplin Tornado, 2011

Activity #1 

Stem Experiments Related to Tornadoes on the Web

 Activity #2 

Lauren Tarshis’s website offers several free activities to use with the book. Each of these links goes to DOC files that can be edited to meet the needs of your students.

Activity #3

Creating a tornado in a bottle is a fun experiment for students while reading this novel. The video below shows the end results.

Tornado tubes can be bought at many toy stores for under $2.00. This tube attaches two plastic soda bottles together.

Simply fill one bottle 2/3 full with water and screw the Tornado Tube onto this bottle. Then attach the second plastic bottle to the other end of the Tornado Tube. To create the tornado, shake the bottles in a circular motion. Set the bottles on a flat surface and watch the “tornado” in the top bottle.

Activity #4

National Geographic created this extremely emotional video that shows how the people who witnessed the tornado felt during and shortly after the tornado hit Joplin. Be sure to watch this video before showing it in class to make sure it is suitable for your students.

Activity #5

If you would like to try out the  I Survived the Joplin Tornado, 2011 Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-2
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2 
  • Constructed Response Question for Chapters 1-2 
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like

I Survived the Joplin Tornado, 2011 Book UnitI Survived the Joplin Tornado, 2011 Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook. Vocabulary, comprehension, constructed response writing, and skill practice are all included. Printable and digital versions are available.


Gay Miller



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