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March 15, 2011 

Japan: Huge Engineering Tasks



Above, a tsunami surged over a seawall and deluged the Japanese city of Miyako.  


From earthquake-resistant buildings to tsunami warnings, few nations are better prepared for disaster than Japan. Now, engineers have a central role in coping with nuclear plant meltdowns, seawall breaches, and widespread devastation caused by last week's huge temblor and destructive wave. The resilient Japanese can tap ideas both new--a giant robot that rescues victims from rubble--and old, such as using the venerable abacus to teach math. Our lesson brings tsunami and earthquake science close to home. See how well your engineers' structures shake, rattle, and roll.

Lesson: Battling the Great Wave 

Great WaveIn these lessons and activities, students learn what causes a tsunami, the physics behind its movement, and how scientists know when one is forming. They can also study its impact on a model town, view tsunami-resistant house designs and learn about a young girl credited with saving lives when a tsunami struck Samoa.

Lesson: Tsunami Survival 

Class Activity: Build an Earthquake-Proof Structure   


Read More 

Feature: Revival of a Classic  

AbacusForget graphing calculators. In Japan, a powerhouse of high tech, the hottest tool for learning math is a relic from Asia's preindustrial past: the venerable abacus. At a time when digital devices are blamed for making us "dumber," this original calculating device is more essential than ever, advocates say. 


Read More 

K-12 News: Schools Flunk Under 'No Child'

Arne Duncan and StudentEducation Secretary Arne Duncan warned last week that 82 percent of the country's schools soon could be considered failing if "No Child Left Behind" is not changed:  "The law has created dozens of ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed," Duncan said.



To follow the Elementary and Secondary Education Act's overhaul, visit ESEA Watch.

Welcome, New Subscribers


eGFI boothWe enjoyed meeting hundreds of your colleagues at last week's National Science Teachers Association conference in San Francisco. Teachers picked up nearly 650 eGFI magazines, and more than 300 subscribed to this newsletter. And congratulations to Carol Packard from Oregon, who won the iPod touch giveaway at our booth.


We also send out a student newsletter that you might like to share with your class. Check out past student newsletters and sign up here.   

Coming in June: ASEE's K-12 Teachers' Workshop


k12workshopSaturday, June 25, 2011 in  Vancouver, B.C., Canada. This day-long program for teachers and engineering educators from Canada and the United States offers a fast-paced and exciting overview of engineering education resources for the classroom. You'll discover valuable best practices, new contacts for collaboration, and the latest take-away tools for effective teaching about engineering education. Count on a full, fun and motivating day!


Learn more


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Our Facebook page for teachers is a great way to learn about contests, web resources, K-12 education news and lesson plans. It also offers a great way to interact with other STEM teachers across the nation--and around the world. Whether you're looking for a cool activity to engage your students or wrestling with rubrics, our Facebook community can help.   


So, become a fan now! 


About the eGFI Teachers' Newsletter


Delivered each week to your email inbox, our newsletter is packed with lesson plans and activities, resources, feature stories, and the latest developments in K-12 engineering education. eGFI is part of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), a non-profit organization committed to enhancing efforts to improve STEM and engineering education.

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