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This is a problem-based learning (PBL) group jigsaw activity. The scenario is: Students are employees of a unit of the United Nations responsible for coordinating disaster relief after a major disaster (the 2004 Asian Earthquake and Tsunami) occurs. The agency needs to understand the situation in each country so that it can coordinate the work of various governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in the affected area. Students are divided into Expert Groups (related to academic specialties such as Economics, Medicine, Political Science, Earth Science, etc.) and spend several days researching their topics. Students are then reassigned to one of seven or eight Country Groups, based on the countries most affected by the disaster. Each country group needs someone representing each expert group. In the scenario, these groups correspond to task forces that must determine what the situation is in each country and try to assess the current need for international assistance. Students research their country, using internet resources, especially the CIA World Factbook and ReliefWeb, the information coordination website of the United Nations. At a large-group roundtable discussion, each group presents what it has found about its assigned country. As a final product, each student writes an individual report summarizing findings and making recommendations for disaster assistance.
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