Tsunamis in the math classroom

Hearing about the earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan this morning, I reformulated the warm-up activities in my classes. After news stories generate the interest, a few questions got the ball rolling:

  • How fast do tsunamis move?

  • How does the Richter scale work?

  • How much energy does a wave carry?

  • How accurate were the predictions for the tsunami's arrival at the West coast?

This Google gadget is helpful for putting earthquakes in context: