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F.A. Day Library: Natural Disasters Research

Natural Disasters and Hazards Research 

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Tools Open NPS Google Drive Open NPS Schoology Open NoodleTools Open the Brown Destiny Catalog   Mobile
  Download the OverDrive App for eBooks and Audiobooks

Tutorials on Using Databases

 Watch the following screencasts for more information on using these resources. 

Using Encyclopedia Britannica

Using Gale Databases



Databases are collections of vetted and reliable resources.  Databases are especially helpful in more academic research.

Library Passwords

You can log in to most of our databases from home without a password. They use special geolocation links that will give you access from anywhere within the state of Massachusetts.

If you have trouble getting in, take a look at our passwords page in Google Docs. You'll need to be logged in to view it. 

Resources by Disaster Type

General Websites for Natural Disasters and Hazards Research

These sites give a general overview of Natural Disasters and Hazards or have in depth information on a variety of types of disasters. To search, use the site's search feature (usually a magnifying glass or a search box)  to do a keyword search on your topic, or click on the picture of your topic when available.

National Geographic Natural Disasters

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)


The National Severe Storms Laboratory

The Why Files

Science News for Students

UCAR Center for Science Education

The Natural Disasters Association

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

US Environmental Protection Agency

Fact Monster Natural Disasters


National Geographic Connecting the World Through Maps

Presentation tools


Create animated videos and presentations using Powtoon. Powtoon is available for free in NPS GoogleDrive Apps.

- Login to your NPS GoogleDrive account

- Create > Connect more apps > search for Powtoon > click Connect

- Create, select PowToon

undefined is a user-friendly free service for recording, hosting, and distributing podcasts. You can create recordings on your computer or on the mobile app.

There are some great options for background music and you can even publish your Anchor recordings straight to iTunes, Spotify, Google Play etc. Users can record a podcast with a guest or co-host in another city or country. All you both need is the app.


Loom is a recording tool that helps you get your message across through instantly shareable videos. With Loom, you can record your camera, microphone, and desktop simultaneously. Your video is then instantly available to share.

Watch this video to learn more.




Flipgrid is a website that allows teachers to create "grids" to facilitate video discussions. Each grid is like a message board where teachers can pose questions, called "topics," and their students can post video responses that appear in a tiled grid display. 

 Teachers and students logging in with their My BrainPOP educator or student accounts can access Make-a-Movie on every BrainPOP topic. With Make-a-Movie, you can make your own BrainPOP-style movies, building scenes with images from BrainPOP’s library, or creating your own drawings. Students can record narration, manipulate backgrounds, and add transitions between scenes. To use this tool you will need an access code linked to an educator account. See your library teacher for help. 

For directions for creating student log in, watch this video. 

For directions visit this site.

VoiceThread logoVoiceThread is collaborative multimedia slideshow that holds images, documents and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments using voice, text or video.

  • All NPS students have access to a VoiceThread account
  • Try the log-in insructions below.  

Timetoast allows you to create dynamic timelines online.

  • It's free online (you don't need the paid account).
  • Beware:  because the timeline you create is interactive with dynamic images, you won't be able to print it out to turn it in.  Instead, you'll have to give your teacher a link to view your timeline online.  Be sure to clear this with him or her before you use this tool for your project.

Here's a sample timeline for Rosa Parks (to see it in larger format, use this link)

The bibliography for this project including citations for all of the images can be found here.

smoreSmore makes it easy to create online fliers and posters with slick templates and simple click and drag manipulation. Consider using smore to jazz up that old paper poster project and provide a means for all students to shine--not just those who are good at drawing, cutting and pasting.

Here's a sample smore flyer:


Prezi logo

Prezi is an online alternative to PowerPoint. "Make your presentations zoom!"

  • It's free online (you don't need the paid account).
  • Watch the video below to learn how to use it--it takes a little practice, but can create great-looking presentations.



Piktochart is an infographics tool to help you present data and information in a visually appealing way. Choose from pre-set templates or create your own design using charts, images, and more.

Lucidpress logoLucidpress is an app that can be used to create presentations, brochures (including trifold), newsletter/papers, magazines, flyers, posters, etc.  

  • You can choose between digital documents and those that you can print.
  • It's full of really helpful templates to build off of.
  • You can share your document with others to edit, just like Google Docs.
  • Best of all, Lucidpress is a free Google App that you can access using your NPS Google Drive account!  
    • Log into Google Drive, click create, click on "Connect more apps," then search for Lucidpress. This will save you the need to create an account with an email and password. Once you connect to Lucidpress through Google Drive, the app will open as a new tab in your browser.  
    •  Click on the Lucidpress logo at the top left of the screen to see all of your Lucidpress documents.


The History Project allows you to create timelines, and associate images, maps, videos and text with specific events. You can also record voice "memories" to go along with your events. Invite collaborators to work together on a shared project. The final project can be shared via a link.

Haiku Deck Logo

From iTunes: "Haiku Deck is the simple new way to create stunning presentations – whether you are pitching an idea, teaching a lesson, telling a story, or igniting a movement. Featured on the iTunes “New and Noteworthy” and “What’s Hot” lists, Haiku Deck makes it fast and fun to create beautifully designed slideshows you’ll be proud to share." It's available as an iPad app, and as a desktop tool. 

Haiku Deck is designed to move you away from reading a bunch of slides. To see the "speaker's notes" that would accompany the second presentation below, click here.

10 Tips to Transform Your Presentations - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

This app lets you create Green Screen videos right from an iPad. Use it with a green screen and tripod to set up your own video studio. When you’re finished with your project, remember to click "save" to render the video. Once the video has rendered, which might take 10 minutes or more, you will be able to upload it to Google Drive.

Slides IconGoogle Slides is an easy way to create presentations. It allows real-time collaboration. Auto saving. Easily import images, videos and more. Use premade templates and themes or start from scratch.  

Check out this helpful Slides Cheat Sheet:

A way to create web sites. This tool is connected to your Newton Public Schools Google Drive account. You can add text, videos, images, links, maps, and more.

To access, log into your Google Drive and choose "New."  Then click "More" and choose Google Sites. 

Click here for a guide to creating web sites with Google Sites.

Google Site Exemplar: 

Check out this site example on Newton in the 1850's

Display your information visually! includes pre-made templates based on the type of data (timelines, maps, etc.) or themes (the environment, science, sports). Add your data, and create a beautiful presentation. 

Canva is a design tool that helps you create for images Web or print, including blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers, flyers, posters, and more.

  • It's free online (while certain images and graphics require payment, there are hundreds of free options)
  • You can work collaboratively, sharing and editing your designs with a classmate or teacher.
  • There are dozens of pre-set templates, icons, and images to start you off, or you can create from scratch, and upload your own images to customize.
  • When you're finished you can publish the images online or download them to print or use in other projects.
  • If you want to print as a poster, we recommend you download as a .pdf, then open using Adobe Reader. When you go to print from Adobe Reader , select "Poster" under Page sizing & handling. 100% size will print on 6 pieces of regular sized paper (8.5"x11"). 80% size will print on 4 pieces. You will need to trim the white margins and then tape them together on a poster board. The library has a paper cutter if you need it, but no color printer!

Click here for a page with a variety of short video tutorials on how to use Canva.

F.A. Day Middle School Library
21 Minot Pl., Newton, MA 02460 / 617-559-9139