science for n00bs

Teaching the Tsunami

Here are a bunch of resources for teaching your kids (whether you’re their parent or teacher) about the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan last week and continue to cause devastation. This is a great opportunity for real-world lessons in plate tectonics, geography, the physics of quake-proof buildings, the movement of water, Japanese history, the benefits/drawbacks of nuclear power, and even compassion; this last item is perhaps (in my opinion) the most important subject that is the most sorely neglected.

An entire half-hour video on constructing quake-proof buildings.

Live footage of the wave washing ashore and (at about 1:21) washing away an entire town.

Intense before-and-after photos of the destruction from the NYTimes.

Details about the ongoing nuclear reactor meltdowns.

And, because knowledge means nothing if we don’t use it, the Red Cross is accepting donations to help with disaster relief.  Your kids could have a sushi dinner or a Japanese bake sale as a fundraiser and send the proceeds to a disaster relief organization like the Red Cross. They could also learn origami and sell paper cranes to benefit disaster relief–a great way to learn about the culture of the people they’re helping. Here’s another list of organizations currently providing disaster relief in Japan.

Thanks to Margie Clayman for much of the inspiration for this post.

Edit: moar links plz!

Animal Refuge Kansai needs volunteers and donations.

News on the ground indicates that Apple stores are providing crucial centers for communication and electricity.

George Takei is trying to help!

More information about the nuclear reactors in Japan. Thanks Wendy Z!

A Smithsonian geologist explains that the earthquake that hit Japan on March 11th was 1,000 times more powerful than the one that recently hit Haiti. Whoa!


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