A great way to start any topic is with a knowledge harvest. A knowledge harvest is a lesson which gathers together prior knowledge the class has along with the things they want to learn from the topic.
It allows the students to share things they know with each other and also steer the topic in the direction they are interested in.
My favourite way to do this is with large sheets of paper laid out on tables and allow the children to walk between the tables adding their knowledge and questions to individual sheets.
Not only is this an active lesson, it also lets the children ask questions anonymously.
You can check out a free knowledge harvest lesson on Natural Disasters here
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