Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Lesson Plans



Science and Technology

  • Understanding Matter and Energy


  • Writing

Grade level:

  • Two


  • Emergency! Be Prepared!

Time required:

  • 55 minutes


Investigate how rain, a liquid, changes to ice, a solid, and how this can impact individuals and society as it did during the 1998 Eastern Ontario/Quebec Ice Storm.

Instructional Expectations

The Grade Two learners will:


  • Assess the impacts of changes in state of solids and liquids on individuals and society
  • Identify and order main ideas and supporting details, using graphic organizers – chronological order


a) Learners – Required Prior Learning

  • Students need to have completed the Emergencies and Staying Safe lesson that is part of this unit
  • Students should know the terms liquid state, solid state and understand that it is possible for water to change states

b) Learning Environment

  • The teacher will conduct most of the lesson from the front of the classroom
  • The students will discuss their observations of water and ice around a table or desk
  • Students will complete the assignment at their desks/table

c) Resources

  • Copies of the two page Sort It Out worksheet (attached)
  • Glue and scissors
  • Ice cube tray with room temperature water in it
  • Ice cube tray with ice in it
  • Blackboard/whiteboard and writing utensil
  • Complete emergency survival kit (list of contents available at
  • Copy of The Ice Storm: A Historic Record in Photographs of January 1998 by Mark Abley or other book with photos of the damage caused by ice storms
  • *** It is suggested that you aim for a book that features pictures from the January 1998 ice storm that affected Eastern Ontario and Quebec
Content Strategies



a) Introduction

Brainstorming session – Ways water can fall from the sky

b) Establishing the Learning

Introduction to the properties of ice

Definition of freezing rain

Identification of problems associated with a freezing rain event

Introduction to emergency survival kits

Ask students all of the ways that water can fall from the sky (rain, sleet, ice, snow, hail, freezing rain, etc.).

Explain that today they will be talking about freezing rain.

Have the students gather around a desk and show them an ice cube try full of water.

Ask the students what state the water is in at the moment (liquid). Allow a student to touch the water.

Put an ice cube tray full that is full of ice on the desk. Ask the students what state the water is in (solid). Allow a student to touch the water.

Ask the students to explain how to change water change from a liquid to a solid (put the water in the freezer, in a place zero degrees Celsius or colder, etc.).

Ask the students to look and touch the water-filled ice cube try and have them make some observations (water is clear, water temperature is about the same as the room, the water takes the shape of the space it is in, etc.). Ask the students to look and touch the ice cubes and have them make some observations (hard, cold, sticks to my finger, white in colour with some clear spots, same shape as the holes in the ice cube try, melting, cracking, making noise, etc.).

Ask the students what it is called when water in a liquid state falls from the sky (rain). Ask the students what the air temperature outside is like when it rains (above zero degrees Celsius).

Ask students what it is called when water in a solid state falls from the sky (snow/ice pellets). Ask the students what the air temperature is like when it snows or there are ice pellets falling (make sure they know this is not hail) falling from the sky (at or below zero degrees Celsius).

Explain to students that sometimes water falls from the sky in a liquid form known as rain but when it reaches the ground or objects near the ground, the liquid water freezes into a solid state known as ice because the ground or those things close to it are at or below zero degrees Celsius. The air temperature above the ground is above zero degrees Celsius but the temperature on the ground and of object near the ground are at or below zero degrees Celsius.

Remind students that ice storms are caused by freezing rain. Explain that ice storms were one of the natural emergencies that they talked about in the Emergencies and Staying Safe lesson.

Explain to students that major ice storms are not common in Ontario but that they can, and have happen. Explain that there was a very bad ice storm in 1998 that affected a large part of Ontario.

Show the students a few pictures from The Ice Storm: A Historic Record in Photographs of January 1998 by Mark Abley (or similar book). Select a few appropriate pictures to show the class that illustrates the damage caused by the 1998 ice storm. Be sure to select photos that will not scare students but that illustrate the power of these sorts of storms (bent hydro towers, downed power lines, homes covered in ice, branches down from ice on to the road, etc.). Explain that ice is heavy and can break tree branches and power lines, especially if it is windy or there is a lot of ice build-up.

Ask the students if a freezing rain emergency would affect one person, a few people or an entire community (students should identify it as affecting an entire community).

Write “Freezing Rain” on the blackboard/whiteboard and ask the students what sorts of things might be affected by a serious freezing rain event (ability to walk/drive because it is slippery, tree branches are down from the weight of the ice and making walking dangerous, broken power lines can be very dangerous to people, power outages mean furnaces/ovens/refrigerators won’t work, it will get cold in the house because there is no power to heat the house, etc.).

Explain that natural emergencies can happen at any time and sometimes without much warning. Serious or major natural emergencies are rare, but they can happen and that is why everyone needs to take some time and learn how to prepare for an emergency, like an ice storm.

The teacher should refer to the Freezing Rain brainstorming list that students created and ask them what it would be like to be: without power, in the dark, without a working oven, without heat and unable to leave your home because it is too dangerous to do so.

Explain to students that in a major emergency, emergency workers, like police, firefighters and paramedics will need to focus on rescuing people who are injured or trapped. Emergency workers will have great challenges to deal with, including how to get around safely. Explain that you can help emergency workers by not becoming someone they need to rescue by taking action today and preparing an emergency survival kit.

Students should be told that an emergency survival kit contains all of the items that you and your family need to stay safe and comfortable for at least three days.

Show students the sample emergency survival kit and go through the items in the kit one by one. Ask students why each item is in the kit and leave all of the items out so that students can come up later and take a closer look.

End the lesson by explaining that people will be better prepared to deal with an emergency if they take the time to prepare an emergency survival kit.

Content Strategies

Consolidation of Learning

Ask a few quick check questions before beginning the assignment.

  1. How does freezing rain form?
  2. What problems can an ice storm cause?
  3. Why do you need an emergency survival kit?


Hand out the Sort It Out worksheet and explain to students that they are to cut out the 8 boxes and then glue them in the proper order on the second page. Provide the students with scissors and glue.


Observe students throughout the lesson and assignment and make note of any student who is experiencing difficulty with the material.

The assignment will be collected and assessed using the attached rubric. The teacher should take into account their observations of students during the class discussion.

Additional Related Activities

  • Invite a survivor of the 1998 ice storm to speak to the class about the event and the aftermath
  • Have the students write a letter to a 1998 ice storm survivor asking them about the event

Sort It Out!

Cut out each of the boxes and glue them in the correct order on the attached sheet.

Emergency Preparedness Grade 2 – Lesson 2