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TED Education: All About Tsunamis!

Ever wonder what causes those huge, destructive waves called tsunamis? This animated video from TED Ed is less than four minutes, but in that time your mid-elementary student (or higher) will get a solid understanding of this amazing, scary natural phenomenon.

The word “tsunami” is Japanese and means “harbor wave,” so named because if you’re out in the ocean a tsunami could pass underneath and you probably wouldn’t realize it. But as it reaches a shallow harbor, traveling at speeds up to 500 miles per hour, the tsunami wave rises up – sometimes as much as 100 feet high!


As with all TED Ed videos, you can go to the complete mini-lesson and ponder the “Think” and “Discuss” questions, plus learn more in the “Dig Deeper” section. For example, you’ll find an excellent article that digs into more research about tsunamis, see an animation of a tsunami warning system, and more.

At Learning Liftoff, we love TED Ed lessons. Here’s an overview article about them. We plan to highlight TED Ed lessons regularly, so be sure to subscribe if you don’t want to miss this and other posts that help you enhance your child’s education.

To keep up on Learning Liftoff’s TED Ed recommendations, along with other posts that help you and your child learn more about the world, be sure to subscribe today!

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Michael Solow

Michael Solow has worked as a teacher, journalist, and commercial writer/creative director. Michael has also taught high school English and junior high math, gaining his teaching certification from Vassar College and a master's degree in the teaching of writing and literature from George Mason University. His writing has been published in the New York Times, the San Francisco Review of Books,, and the Hemingway Review. He is the proud dad of two grown daughters and the happy husband of an elementary school librarian.

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TED Education: All About Tsunamis!

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