The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security and springs to action when hurricanes hit. This organization uses an elaborate and technologically advanced system to advise the public as to the severity of a hurricane. In addition to this, there’s a low-tech and rudimentary way that is used call the “Waffle House Index”.
Waffle House, the 24-hour diner is a common landmark off of exits of interstate highways throughout the Southeastern the US. Due to their business model which has them open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year; government agencies use the Waffle House to help determine the degree of severity when hurricanes hit. Your students will enjoy discussing information technology management, system failures, and problems while traveling in this highly engaging lesson!
This lesson is appropriate for adult English language learners at the advanced level, but is adaptable for upper-intermediate learners. It has a discussion phase, vocabulary study phase, a reading/listening passage followed by reading/listening comprehension questions, and finally some additional conversation and role-play activities. I have used it in individual and large group settings, and found it to be a very flexible and useful resource.