Monster Waves

Science/Social Studies

Students will build a tabletop village and use it to visualize the relative heights and effects of tsunamis.

What You Need

What to Do

  1. Read Tremors Behind Tsunamis to give students background on tsunamis and where they are likely to occur. Some students may wish to look in additional sources for more information on the topic.
  2. Explain to students that the class will be making a replica of a seaside fishing village or port city to help them visualize the massive size of tsunamis and the destruction they can cause.
  3. Divide students into small groups, having each group build a different section of the village or city. Encourage students to decide, as a class, which group will make buildings, land area, tsunami, etc.
  4. Suggest that students make some buildings more than one-story high. Later, the class can decide how high a story would be in actual height.
  5. When groups are done, have them assemble the village or city. Before placing the tsunami, they should speculate how high a tsunami wave would reach in the model.
  6. Have students use the model to discuss what the tsunami would do to the village or city, the effect on the people who live there, and what could be done to prepare for future tsunamis.

Teaching Options