A Tsunami which hit the southern part of Thailand in 2004 caused much damage and many losses. It was the worst natural disaster that had happened in Thailand. Since then, there have been a number of studies and campaigns to raise awareness about the issue and how it can be handled.
One of the latest learning innovations about tsunami has been developed by five students from Mahaprutharam Girls’ School with funding support from the Quality Learning Foundation. It was so impressive that Dr. Chaowalit Limmaneevichitr, vice president of King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, rewarded them all with scholarships at the university.
The model was built to understand how the tsunami was formed starting from the movement of the earth plates and a physical model was as constructed that simulated the movement of waves in the water until the point when it becomes a huge wave that hits the shore. The students also developed the model that include the after shocks after the initial tsunami. The video below shows how the model operates. The model was built like a solid fish tank which can withstand a big wave and the motion of the wave in the tank models the movement of wave in the Indian ocean.
“The virtual tsunami model is not only a teaching and learning tool for students in learning about tsunami, earthquakes, the green house effect and environment issues and how to handle them but it also can be used as a community learning tool in the areas that are prone to tsunami disaster. Supports from all sectors are very important. Today curriculum is not much up to date with the current environmental situations” Dr.Smith Thammasarod, the president of the Disaster Advance Warning Commission said.
Dr. Supakorn Buasai, Managing Director of the QLF added that “the virtual tsunami model which got funding from the QLF has reflected an attempt to design teaching and learning to meet the needs and interests of students by having the teacher as a facilitator stimulating and urging and adapting innovations to meet the relevant needs of the local community such as tsunami and climate change issues. This has allowed both teachers and students to experience the world beyond the classroom. It is indeed an essential part of students’ learning and personal development. More, it will also provide an opportunity for interested schools particularly in the tsunami prone areas to learn from the model.
The virtual tsunami model has started from learning about waves. Learning in the classroom and reading books are not sufficient. letting students develop the model themselves has allowed them to have hands on experience, work in teams in solving problems, using both science and mathematics skills. Also students have gained an answer knowledge about a major world phenomenon. Mr. Dilok Uthanud, teacher of Mahaprutharam Girls’ School said.
Ms. Issaraporn Setthanun, one of the students who developed the model explained that learning science through the tsunami model has helped her to gain a better understanding.
“I don’t have to memorize it. It teaches me to think systematically. It is also a new way of learning not only theory but acting on it. When people think of electronics they don’t think it is for girl students. Through producing this model it has shown that everyone has a chance if you have opened a door to them allowing them to think creatively, learning about what they are interested in and later they will support the society.”
The model is one of several innovative projects which has been supported by the QLF under High Schools’ competitive grants 2010.