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There's a Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On: Earthquake Lessons on the Net

Curriculum Center

Education World compiled this list of resources to help teachers help kids learn about the science of earthquakes. Included: Links to lesson plans, WebQuests, and more!


The first stop for teachers in search of earthquake teaching resources should be the Earthquake Hazards Program from the U.S. Geological Survey. This resource includes great maps that identify recent earthquake activity. Click on U.S. map to see activity in your region of the country and in other regions. Earthquake Education includes Today in Earthquake History, Cool Earthquake Facts, Science Fair Project Ideas, a glossary, and more. Stuff for Teachers includes across-the-grade resources for teaching about the structure of Earth, earthquakes, plate tectonics, and earthquake preparedness.

Following are some of the other great Web resources that Education World editors found!

Earthquakes in Illinois?
This interdisciplinary WebQuest was designed for middle school students in Illinois, but it could easily be adapted for students in other locations. The task: As an employee of the Safety Division of the Illinois Geological Survey, your boss, Mrs. Aftershock, has asked you to help write an informational article. The purpose of this article is to inform the public about the threat of earthquakes with the hope of reducing loss of life and property in future shocks.

Musical Plates
This WebQuest involves students in using real-time data to pinpoint the exact locations of recent earthquakes, determine whether certain parts of the world tend to experience more earthquakes than others, and determine what caused the earthquakes. The Quest was developed by the Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology and the Bank Street College of Education.

Earthquakes Web Quest
Students chart the location, magnitude, and frequency of recent earthquake activity of the Mammoth Lakes area in California and determine which factor is most significant to their safety as skiers on Mammoth Mountain. The premise of this activity could be adapted to your geographic area.

Earthshaking Lab Lesson Plan
Earthquakes can provide a useful context for teaching or reviewing many basic physics concepts, such as sliding and static friction, forms of energy and conversion from one form to another, and the elastic properties of materials. Conducting this lesson provides an opportunity for students to work cooperatively to develop and test a hypothesis, make measurements, and write a short report on the results with graphs.

Virtual Earthquake
Virtual Earthquake is an interactive Web-based program designed to introduce students to the concepts of locating an earthquake's epicenter and determining the Richter-scale magnitude of an earthquake. The Virtual Earthquake computer program runs on a Web server at California State University at Los Angeles. Students can interact with Virtual Earthquake using their Web browsers.


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