Teaching about the 2004 Tsunami

Tsunami hazard sign. Main Beach, Laguna Beach, CA, USA. Details

The December 26, 2004 tsunami that devastated countries around the Indian Ocean is a tragedy that has received worldwide attention. This was an important teachable moment for the geosciences, and we wanted to know more about how geoscientists and educators everywhere incorporated the tsunami into their teaching and outreach.

In the weeks following the earthquake and tsunami, geoscience educators were asked to fill out a very simple survey (Acrobat (PDF) 44kB Oct4 11) asking them what they were doing with their students to address the almost unimaginable scale of the event. Responses indicate an incredible variety of ways in which geoscientists and educators engaged their classes and communities with the science behind what happened in the Indian Ocean. Some asked students to share what they know or have heard in the media, to discuss aspects of the tsunami with their peers, to research questions related to the tsunami and present their results to the class. Some gave presentations ranging from short informal talks at faculty meetings to formal presentations on their campus and/or to the local community. Some wrote pieces for local newspapers and others agreed to be interviewed by the media. The following pages expand on the kinds of responses that were received and highlight particularly interesting approaches.

Classroom Activities

Campus Outreach Activities

Community Outreach Activities