Last updated 3/17/11
In class today we will review the historic tsunami that struck Japan over the weekend. The earthquake that caused the tsunami is one of the most 5 powerful earthquakes in the last 100 years. This tsunami has been one of the best documented – as there are ample video, eyewitness accounts, and news sources that we can use to analyze the challenges that Japan faces.
Focus Question: What is the most significant challenge that Japan faces in the wake of the 3/11/11 tsunami?
What will it take in order for us to be able to answer this question?
First, students need to define what makes a challenge significant. Is it based on difficulty to overcome, damage caused to the country? Develop a definition as a class of what significant means in this context.
Then we will review the background of tsunamis, as well as briefly review Japan’s unique history as the most tsunami prone country in the world.
News Article Jigsaw Activity:
Each student will be assigned a different news article to read and summarize.
Each of these news articles deals with a specific aspect of this tragedy; loss of productivity due to power outages, the possibility of an even more deadly aftershock, possible nuclear meltdown and wide scale radiation, huge financial costs, and a death toll that could top 10,000 – though many reports claim that this number could go up dramatically.
Students will be given one of the articles in expert groups of 2 or 3. They will read their article and summarize the significant challenge that their article represents. Expert groups will be given 4-5 minutes to discuss their article to make sure that they have the same idea and information regarding their challenge.
Expert groups will then be mixed in order that students summarize the main idea of their article to their classmates. While they are summarizing, each student takes notes on the graphic organizer.
Each student is responsible to summarize each challenge, what that challenge means for the Japanese people, and brainstorm what it will take to overcome this challenge. After each student has shared, each mixed group will have a discussion on which challenge they feel is the most significant.
Homework Due 3/18:
- You will conduct research online to identify one additional challenge that Japan faces in addition to the 4 we covered in class.
- You will then evaluate which challenge you consider to be the most significant, and write a summary paragraph justifying your choice.
Extension (Worth 20 points): Students will identify a news article that correlates with their selected challenge and leave it in the comments of this post. In your comment, summarize the article and how it relates to the challenge you selected.
Additional videos and resources:
Excellent visualization of the tsunami: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RCPG3HNwHA&feature=related
Truly amazing NY Times graphic/tutorial on the nuclear reactor meltdown: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/12/world/asia/the-explosion-at-the-japanese-reactor.html
Excellent slideshow-timeline from USA Today: http://topics.gannett.com/japan%20earthquake/?template=usatoday
Video of skyscrapers swaying back and forth in Tokyo: http://www.wimp.com/skyscrapersswaying/
Video of the tsunami remnants hitting a canal in Hawaii: http://www.wimp.com/tsunamibackyard/
Video of the ground being torn apart during the earthquake: http://www.dump.com/2011/03/12/crazy-video-of-the-ground-shifting
Video of supermarket during earthquake: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12717701
Economist chart of world’s deadliest earthquakes since 1900: http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/03/earthquakes
BBC Tsunami wave forecast map: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12715415
BBC Interactive map with site-based video clips:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12722187
Possible discussion extension questions:
- How was the impact of this earthquake different from the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010?
- How does this tsunami and its aftermath compare with the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004? Compare the size of the earthquakes and examine why so many more lives were lost during the 2004 earthquake.