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Tsunami! How can we warn those in danger?

Grade: 5-12

Lesson Time: 1 hour


This activity looks at the problems created when an earthquake, volcano, or other catastrophic event occurs near the coast, or under the ocean causing the release of tremendous amounts of energy into the water environment. It traces the transfer of energy to the water and movement of that energy across the ocean to distant lands.

Massachusetts Science Frameworks:

  • Describe how movements of the earth’s crustal plates causes both slow and rapid changes in the Earth’s surface (E and S Grade 6-8 #5)
  • Describe and give examples of ways in which the Earth’s surface is built up and torn down by natural processes (E and S Grade 6-8 #6)

National Science Education Standards:

  • Major geological events, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and mountain building result from lithospheric plate movement (NSS 5-8)
  • All students should develop an understanding of the transfer of energy (NSS 5-8)
  • Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications (NSS 9-12)
  • Waves on water have energy and can transfer energy when they interact with matter (NSS 9-12)
  • The outward transfer of Earth’s internal heat drives convection circulation in the mantle and propels the plates comprising Earth’s surface across the face of the globe (NSS 9-12)
  • Explain the different ways in which places are connected and how these connections demonstrate interdependence and accessibility (NGS 5-8)
  • Predict the potential outcome of the continued movement of Earth’s tectonic plates (NGS 5-8)
  • Explain the effects of different physical cycles on the physical Earth (NGS 9-12)

Activity download: TSU_Activity2010

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