Major Funding The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation

Earthquakes: Teachers

Earthquake Essentials

The United States Geological Survey is an excellent source of earthquake education that you'll want to check out. Take a look at the Science of Earthquakes, Earthquake Hazards, Cool Earthquake Facts and the comprehensive Questions and Answers page. You'll also find a glossary of earthquake vocabulary and a Kids' Page for students.

Michigan Tech sponsors an educational site for K-12 teachers and students that includes discussions of why earthquakes happen, how they are measured, and the science of seismology.

Learn about the different types of earthquakes, important earthquake terms, and interesting earthquake facts.

Faultline: Seismic Science is an excellent source of earthquake information from the Exploratorium in California. Explore graphic displays, quake basics, famous quakes and more.

This Dynamic Earth: The Story of Plate Tectonics is published by USGS and contains good background information for educators.

Which were the strongest earthquakes in the United States, and in the world? Which were the deadliest? How many earthquakes occur each year? Explore earthquake statistics and find out.

At USGS, you can track earthquakes that are occurring right now. Take a look at Earthquake 3-D, where you'll see recent earthquakes on a spinning globe.

There are many aspects to the study of earthquakes that will interest students. Understanding liquefaction and wave motion is helpful to the understanding of how earthquakes can cause so much damage and destruction.

Magnitude 9.2: The 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake explains how this powerful earthquake changed seismologists’ understanding of earth science and the ways in which scientific knowledge can be used to mitigate earthquake and tsunami damage.

Resources for Educators from PBS

San Andreas Fault, image: NASA

Why does the Earth have layers? These PBS videos for younger students (Ready Jet Go) and older students (It's Okay To Be Smart) will help your students understand the characteristics of Earth's distinct layers.

In Earthquakes, a complete lesson plan for middle school grades, students explore the causes of earthquakes, including the role of tectonic plates, and consider the efforts scientists are making to better understand and predict these sometimes deadly events.

For grades 3-5, Exploring Earthquakes and Volcanoes On Earth engages students in exploring volcano and earthquake data to describe patterns in prevalence and location relative to mountain ranges and the edges of continents. This complete lesson plan includes a slideshow, online game, data-layering map, graphic organizer, background reading, and teaching guide.

GPS: Earthquakes is a Dragonfly TV segment where two girls explore the evidence of fault damage and earth movement in the Bay Area. The accompanying teacher's guide includes extension activities.

Students can observe and analyze the locations of earthquakes across the earth with this interactive Global Earthquakes and Volcanoes Map. Support materials include background reading, teaching suggestions, and discussion questions.

In Ruff Ruffman's Ring of Fire Travel Guide, students help Ruff verify information about earthquakes and volcanoes. The game includes visual and text-based reference materials that build understanding about relationships between volcanoes, earthquakes, and mountain ranges.

The Restless Planet: Earthquakes and Waves of Destruction: Tsunamis contain articles, sidebars and animations about earthquakes and what we can learn from them.

Shake, Rattle and Roll is a classroom activity where students explore structural engineering through three design projects.

In this plate tectonics activity, students pull the plates apart and push them together and watch what happens to the Earth.

Lesson Plans and Teacher Guides

Tremor Troop: Earthquakes is a K-6 Teacher's Guide developed by FEMA and the National Science Teachers Association. Organized by grade level, this standards-aligned edition is packed with instructional activities, lessons, assessments and hands-on activities for classroom use on the science of earthquakes.

Exploring Earthquakes is a comprehensive collection of infographics, videos, readings and animations presented by the California Academy of Sciences. Check out the Teacher's Guide for ideas on using the collection.

This Dynamic Planet: A Teaching Companion is a middle-school teachers' guide created to help teach plate tectonics and earth science concepts. Useful graphic displays and hands-on activities are included.

The USGS has a series of animations to help teachers explain concepts such as liquefaction, divergent boundaries, aftershocks and more.

Earthquakes for Kids from USGS includes easy-to-understand earthquake science and many ideas for science projects.

Musical Plates is a multidisciplinary project where elementary students learn about earthquakes through activities that use real time earthquake data. A teacher's guide assists educators in implementing this project in their classrooms.

Dynamic Earth is an interactive that includes information, puzzles and challenges about plate tectonics and earthquakes. About This Interactive gives teachers suggestions for use with students.

Classroom Experiments and Demonstrations

How Can I Make My Own S and P Waves? is an engaging classroom activity that teaches wave motion.

The Exploratorium offers some fun classroom activities and demonstrations to help students better understand earthquakes and seismology. Take a look at Pasta Quake, Shaky Sediments, Seismic Slinky, or Highway Seismograph.

Edible Science: In this Earthquake Activity, 5th-grade students learn about fault lines through experimenting with cake layers. In Candy Quakes, middle-school students use candy bars, gum and licorice to demonstrate the effects of deformational forces on the earth's crust. And in Make Your Own Earthquake, students use gelatin to model how earthquake waves move energy.

Bigger Faults Make Bigger Earthquakes is a classroom activity from USGS that demonstrates the relationship between the size of a fault and the earthquakes that occur along it.

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