Helpful Resources for Teaching Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

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For parents and educators looking for ways to explain the impact and science of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last week, here's a quick roundup.

  • The New York Times' Learning Network on the earthquake and tsunami, including a breathtaking slideshow (much of this is more appropriate for older students), an interactive "slider" that shows satellite images before and after the tsunami, a collection of videos from multiple news sources and YouTube, and a list of aid agencies.
  • Tsunami Visualizations links to science sites about the Japanese earthquake, as well as photos and videos, interactive maps, and news stories.
  • The British Red Cross pulled together an informative site about how to address the events with students, including the social and emotional effects of hearing about tragedies.
  • A collection of Tweets, posts, videos, and photos collected by one teacher using Storify.
  • Learning to Give is a website that offers classroom lessons about disaster relief organized by grade level.


  • Teachers’ Domain: Earthquakes. Lesson plans for Pre-K, 6-12 grades. Explore the forces that create earthquakes and how they affect geology and humanity.
  • NewsHour Extra: The Science of Tsunamis: Seeking Understanding in the Wake of Tragedy. Lesson plans for grades 9-12. Learn about the causes of tsunamis and conduct an experiment to create your own waves in the classroom.
  • QUEST's Earthquakes: Breaking New Ground. Videos and an educator guide. For Bay Area learners, there's also The Hayward Fault: Predictable Peril, video and education guide.
  • QUEST's Scary Tsunamis: Educator Guide and video.
  • On Wednesday, March 30 at 9:00 PM, NOVA will present a new, one-hour quick-response program, "Japan's Killer Quake." Through first person accounts from those who survived, and from experts and scientists currently on the scene, Japan’s Killer Quake gives scientific context to the chain of events responsible for one of the most destructive disasters in recorded history.

Please post other valuable resources in the comments if you come across them.