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Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

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From USA Today: "A powerful 8.9 earthquake shook Japan at 2:46 pm UTC on Friday (3/11), the strongest earthquake ever recorded in its history. It's the fifth-largest earthquake ever recorded." How are you bringing up this tragedy with your students? I'm hearing many comments from educators on Twitter about the balance of bringing the issue up but not being insensitive about this emotionally-charged event. @Derrallg tweeted, "Don't know why but seeing teacher excited abt their students using tech to write abt earthquake in Japan feels insensitive/callous right now" How do you maintain this balance of making your students aware of this event, as well as being sensitive to the magnitude of this tragedy? Here on the West Coast, many of us with children in schools were warned of possible evacuations earlier this morning. Are you dealing with possible evacuations? Any educators/parents in Hawaii? This'd be a great forum to list any resources that you may come across to help the victims of the earthquake/tsunami.

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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Don Rescigno's picture
Don Rescigno
Director of Marketing, Herff Jones Ed. Publishing (Herff Jones | Nystrom)

As requested, here's a link to education-specific content that can help you teach about the March 11, 2011 earthquake in Japan, the related tsunami, and information about plate tectonics.

Please Note: You will need to have the Google Earth browser plug-in installed to view this 3D content.

David Markus's picture
David Markus
Former Editorial Director of Edutopia; dad of 4 (3 kids in public school)

. . . there has been considerable damage done to coastal harbors in Hawaii and Northern California. For students and families in Crescent City, CA and Santa Cruz, CA, lessons will hit close to home. A link to some of the coverage as of this moment:

The earthquake/tsunami, one-two punch is not new to the West Coast. The huge Alaskan earthquake of 1964 wreaked havoc on many coastal towns in Alaska, British Columbia and on down to Northern California. History and social studies teachers may want to check out this link:

Here are more images from Japan that depict the enormous destructive forces of both the earthquake and the tsunami:

Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Edcamper, Former @Edutopia, Founder of Social Media Marketing Consultancy aimed at helping educational orgs.

The New York Times recently wrote this article, "Teaching Ideas: The Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan" that includes resources for teaching about the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, including the latest Times articles and multimedia, related lesson plans and other materials from The Learning Network, and ideas from around the Web.

Hope this helps,

Wendy Wegner's picture
Wendy Wegner
Education Writer, Editor, Blogger

Natural disasters and current events in the news can serve as great "teachable moments" for students. Parents and teachers can work together to assess what their children need to know. Check out our blog for some ideas!

Allen Berg's picture
Allen Berg
curriculum and projects learning centers

Dear Colleagues,

As many of you know already I use Art to teach most every subject...
So after first posting a follow-up "Tsunami Wave Physics" Powerpoint Presentation, for Eric Brunsell's excellent comprehensive blog "Teaching Resources for the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami", I felt ready to switch gears from all of the STEM focus and present this next resource that documents a major Historical and Cultural Era of Japan: The Edo Period when the City of Tokyo was then called Edo and the Life and Art of Hokusai Katsushika (1760 - 1849) came to International Prominance with his Masterpiece collection of woodblock prints titled "36 Views of Mount Fuji".

All of this material is wonderously freely available at

And coincidentally, the first picture in this series is "The Great Wave of Kanagawa" his trademark most popular print published worldwide...

He created these "36 Views of Mount Fuji" during a span when he was 64-72 years old, reaching his artistic peak late in life and continuing masterful artwork late into his 80's...

Also be sure to click on the very bottom of the wikipedia page that has "Rafael Santos' collected and short biographical sketch of Hokusai"

These wooblock carved prints have volumes of history, geography, culture, tradecraft, social customs, clothing styles, and aesthetic
majesty...without the clutter of academic texts.

Pure and Simple, here is one Japanese Man's Life and Art that has attained Legendary and Iconic Stature Worldwide...

Enjoy your visual journey and discoveries of historical Japanese Culture...with your students...

Arigato Gozaimasu

Allen Berg

ps: of course viewing and appreciating Kanji, Japanese Calligraphy, is an other wonder-full way to step-into the Japanese world of Language and Art...

Allen Berg's picture
Allen Berg
curriculum and projects learning centers

Dear Colleagues,

This might be the first time that I 'editorialize' here about the News... but my sociologist longtime background seems to be reaching the meltdown melting point...having been a member of the Union of Concerned
Scientists wayback to 1972 in Cambridge, Massachusetts...

"Now they might have to Bury It."
The whole _____ mess, we warned them about 40 years ago...

Does anyone remember the Newspaper and Magazine Advertisements published by the Nuclear Power Industry many years ago, that had a photograph of a black & white spotted "contented cow" standing in some peaceful green grass meadow... with the Advertisement Slogan:
"Nuclear Power is Clean Energy"...?!

Well "Now they might have to Bury It."
Some of The Most Dangerous Buildings on the Planet (currently in the news...)
...and then maybe relocate 100,000(?) citizens of Japan to non-radioactive cities and communities... and then construct a permanent
"No Man's Zone" Defense Perimeter around the "effected area"...and eventually create a Memorial National Parkland to honor the event and the victims...

So "Now maybe they have to Bury It"...and that might include the entire Nuclear Power -- Clean Energy (sic) -- Industry... but don't hold your breath... (or do hold your breath...)

Whatever they "might have to do"... just remember that a Nuclear Power
Radioactive Factory is NOT a Plant! A "Nuclear Power Plant" is an oxymoron (a paradox of words that makes no sense).
A "Nuclear Power Plant" is not a Plant: it does NOT naturally photosynthesize the energy of the Sun-light like the leaves of a Plant; it is not a tree, it is not a flower, it is not the "Leaves of Grass" a green meadow with a Vermont black and white "contented cow"...

Stay informed with the 'news' and check out the website of the Union of Concerned Scientists at:

Allen Berg

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