Learn about the features and key aspects of earthquakes. Find out about the movement of tectonic plates and about seismic waves. Learn about life in an earthquake zone. Compile and practise a class earthquake drill. Find out how buildings are built to withstand earthquakes and then design your own earthquake-proof structure.

Session 1 Earthquakes and plate tectonics

Objectives

Geography

  • Describe and understand key aspects of earthquakes.
  • Use maps, atlases, and globes to locate countries and describe features studied.

Teaching and Activities

Learn about earthquakes and the movement of tectonic plates.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand some of the effects of plate tectonics.

Children will:

  • Understand how tectonic plates work.
  • Identify the layers of the earth and how earthquakes occur.
  • Consider the effects felt at the surface of the Earth when plate tectonic move.

You Will Need

  • Polystyrene cups
  • Pie pan (8-9 inches)
  • Water

Session 2 What happens when an earthquake strikes?

Objectives

Geography

  • Describe and understand key aspects of earthquakes
  • Use maps, atlases, and globes to locate countries and describe features studied.

Design and Technology

  • Make by selecting from a range of materials, according to their functional properties and
    aesthetic qualities.

Teaching and Activities

What happens when an earthquake strikes? Find out about seismic waves and make a DIY seismograph.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To learn about the effects of seismic waves.
  • To make a seismograph and understand how seismic waves are recorded and measured.

Children will:

  • Understand what happens with tectonic plates move
  • Understand what seismic waves are and what effect they have during an earthquake
  • Understand how seismic waves are recorded and measured through the making of their own seismograph

You Will Need

  • Large tin can per group of 3
  • String
  • Tape
  • Pencil
  • White paper

Session 3 Living in an earthquake zone

Objectives

Geography

  • Describe and understand key aspects of earthquakes.
  • Use maps, atlases, and globes to locate countries and describe features studied.

Teaching and Activities

Gain an understanding of life in an earthquake zone. Compile and practise your own class earthquake drill.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To gain an understanding of life in an earthquake zone.

Children will:

  • Understand life in an earthquake zone and are familiar with the precautions/preparations required.
  • Understand how their surroundings might behave in an earthquake and undergo an earthquake drill in the classroom.

Provided Resources

  • Earthquakes in classrooms images
  • The Ring of Fire map
  • Earthquake drill images

You Will Need

  • globe or atlas
  • Sticky notes or strips of card

Session 4 Earthquake survival

Objectives

Geography

  • Describe and understand key aspects of earthquakes.
  • Use maps, atlases and globes to locate countries and describe features studied.

Design and Technology

  • Make by selecting from a range of materials, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities.

Teaching and Activities

Identify the factors that make buildings withstand earthquakes and make an earthquake-proof structure using marshmallows and straws on a ‘ground’ of jelly.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand why and how engineers construct earthquake proof buildings.
  • To make an earthquake proof structure using simple materials.

Children will:

  • Understand how buildings are constructed to withstand damage from earthquakes and can identify some of the factors that make buildings earthquake-proof, including cross bracing, large ‘footprints’ and tapered geometry.
  • Make an earthquake-proof structure using marshmallows and straws on a ‘ground’ of jelly.

You Will Need

  • Jelly (2 pints per group)
  • Flat rectangular dish per group
  • Straws
  • Marshmallows
  • Video camera