Bettendorf sixth graders learn how to survive natural disasters

BETTENDORF, Iowa -- What's it take to survive a natural disaster? Most Bettendorf sixth graders have never had a close brush with disaster, but some of them say they're more confident now that they'll be able to get through one.

"I have not, but I'm ready for it to come," said Bettendorf sixth grader Amari Washington.

Bettendorf Middle School put on a boot camp Friday, meant to whip students into shape, as part of its launch of the "Can You Survive?" project.

"Body and mind need to both be prepared," said teacher Stephanie Maxwell. "If you want to be able to help others, you also need to be fit."

Students also learn about natural disasters in the classroom. They discuss what kinds of disasters are most likely to occur in their backyard, like tornadoes or floods.

"Well, tsunamis wouldn't happen here because we don't live as close to water," said London Roberts, a Bettendorf sixth grader. "But earthquakes have a bit of a chance to happen here," she said, referencing the New Madrid Seismic Zone across the Midwest.

Maxwell said she hoped learning the science behind natural disasters would motivate students to teach their family and friends.

"Their next step is going to be taking that message out to the community to let them know that these are the disasters that could happen in our area," Maxwell said. "And how should you be prepared?"

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