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Tsunami Lesson Plans

The Tsunami Lesson Plans provide teachers and students, especially in remote coastal areas, with an opportunity to investigate how tsunami happen and how to stay safe if a tsunami occurs.

These lessons challenge students to learn more about tsunami by asking them to:

An Assessment Guide for teachers is also included within these lesson plans.

Key Learning Areas

The Key Learning Areas (KLAs) for these lesson plans include:

  • Geography
  • Study of Society and Environment
  • Science
  • Humanities


The objectives of these lesson plans are for students to:

  • develop an understanding of the causes of a tsunami
  • understand how tsunami occur
  • develop an understanding of the impact of tsunami on people and the environment
  • develop an understanding of how best to be prepared for a tsunami event

Please note: These lessons can be modified to incorporate other KLAs and to meet the needs of the students and specific content taught.

Get the facts

The Lesson Plans have been developed paying particular attention to:

  • What is a tsunami?
  • Where do tsunami occur?
  • Tsunami warnings
  • Be Prepared
  • Report a tsunami
  • Build your own resource guide

To find out more, visit the six lesson plans download below.

Students are also encouraged to visit the Tsunami – Learn page, Tsunami – In My Backyard page, Tsunami – Ready and Able page and Tsunami – Get the Facts page.

Take time to investigate!

Using the information from the case studies on Tsunami – Get the Facts page, students can complete the questions found in the following activities:

The following activities are designed for students in the early years of primary school:

Assessment guide

Teachers can assess with questioning, through group discussion and direct observation of how students are able to complete the Take time to investigate! activities.

Questacon Tsunami Show

The Attorney-General's Department worked closely with Questacon (the National Science and Technology Centre) to develop a Tsunami Awareness Show for school aged children, teachers and the general public. Over a period of 13 months, a total of 412 Tsunami Awareness Shows were performed at Questacon to a collective audience of 19,460 people.

The thirty minute show and nine associated "Frequently Asked Questions" have been recorded on DVD and includes an option to use closed captioning in English. 

Watch a short trailer for the Show (YouTube).

Watch one of the Frequently Asked Questions about tsunami.

To order a free DVD of the Show, please email

This presentation by Questacon provides an overview for the topic. It includes the following 

Time - minutes

Summary of content

0- 4

Meaning of tsunami
Correcting myths


Distinguishing between normal waves and tsunami waves


Explaining shoaling and drawback


Causes of tsunami


Frequency and distribution of earthquakes
Frequency and risk in Australia
Sumatra example


Official warning systems
Natural warning signs

The Attorney-General's Department and Questacon have developed a Tsunami "Choose-Your-Own-Adventure" style game. This game was developed to teach school-aged children important safety messages about tsunami. This game is also housed within the Awesome Earth Exhibit at Questacon in Canberra.

To order the game on CD, please contact

Additional tsunami resources


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