Video Lending Library Feature: “Japan’s Killer Quake”

Japan's Killer QuakeThis has been a year of incredible global natural disasters: destructive earthquakes and tsunamis, huge forest fires, and damaging tornadoes ripping through the northeast. No part of the world is immune to such events. Japan’s Killer Quake examines one of the worst crisis to hit Japan since World War II. This video can help students understand just how the people of Japan’s coastal villages were impacted by the quake and subsequent tsunami. The video asks what can be done to anticipate and protect against such disasters, or is it impractical to design ahead for such events. The NOVA-series video runs 60 minutes and is I.D. 2094. Visit the Video Lending Library website for details.

Announcement: NOVA: Japan’s Killer Quake Special Episode to Air March 30th

In its worst crisis since World War II, Japan faces disaster on an epic scale: a rising death toll in the tens of thousands, massive destruction of homes and businesses, shortages of water and power, and the specter of nuclear reactor meltdowns. The facts and figures are astonishing. The March 11th earthquake was the world’s fourth largest earthquake since record keeping began in 1900 and the worst ever to shake Japan. The seismic shock wave released over 4,000 times the energy of the largest nuclear test ever conducted; it shifted the earth’s axis by 6 inches and shortened the day by a few millionths of a second. The tsunami slammed Japan’s coast with 30 feet-high waves that traveled 6 miles inland, obliterating entire towns in a matter of minutes. Japan’s Killer Quake combines authoritative on-the-spot reporting, personal stories of tragedy and survival, compelling eyewitness videos, explanatory graphics and exclusive helicopter footage for a unique look at the science behind the catastrophe.

Here is a brief preview of the episode:

Nova: Japan’s Killer Quake airs March 30 at 9pm on WGBY.

We hope this is a valuable teaching resource as you help your students make sense of this crisis.

Teaching About the Japan Disaster: Media to Support Your Instruction

The events unfolding in Japan are hard to watch.  If you would like to turn these events into learning opportunities, WGBY has the media resources to support your instruction.  Teach students how the Japanese prepared themselves to survive earthquakes and tsunamis, and cope with accidents involving nuclear power plants. We have several videos and DVDs in each of those categories that can spark lively classroom discussions. Here is just a sampling:

  • The Day the Earth Shook (ID 247, 552) Chronicles earthquakes in California and Japan
  • Meltdown at Three Mile Island (ID 320) Documentary on the nuclear meltdown at a Pennsylvania nuclear plant
  • The Wave that Shook the World (ID 1357) Minute-by-minute account of the 2004 tsunami
  • Earthquakes (16 titles), from gentle tremors to killer quakes, these videos examine cause and effect of earthquakes around the world and what humankind can do to protect itself.

To borrow from the Video Lending Library, click here.

All borrowed videos can be kept for four weeks.  If you have questions, please contact Bernie at

Teaching About Tsunamis and Earthquakes with PBS Resources

In the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we here at WGBY spent the afternoon gathering resources to help teach students about these devistating natural disasters.  Here are just a few that we felt may be helpful:

Finally, we also wanted to share a resource valuable for helping our youngest children in difficult times.  Sesame Workshop’s “You Can Ask” is a resource that helps work with children to cope with stressful life events.  Often times, news broadcasts will have scary images in the wake of large scale disasters.  This initiative, developed in response to September 11th, 2001, provides a variety of parent and child materials to talk about things like fear or loss.