I absolutely love earth science and I want to share some of the fun, interactive, hands-on activities that I do every year while teaching earthquakes in my classroom to help students understand these concepts.
My state science standards requires me to teach my students about changes to the Earth’s surface. That means I’m going to be focusing on both the constructive and destructive processes of earthquakes. To get my students involved, I like to create demonstrations.
To help students understand while teaching earthquakes, we model plate tectonics with graham crackers and frosting (colored red for that hot magma effect!). I provide each student with their own plates and together we work through the motions of pulling apart and pushing together to create divergent and convergent boundaries. I don’t actually teach those words, but we definitely talk about the effects of those types of boundaries. This is a great way for students to actually see mountain building.
If you’re looking for other great activities to illustrate earthquakes, check out where students play with Styrofoam “buildings” to determine which foundation is best in my blog post called Earthquake Simulation or in my Earthquake Experiments post, students pull on two different pieces of cloth to represent fault lines and sees the effect on a local town.