This lesson on earthquakes is based on naturalist John Muir's experiences with two significant earthquakes, the 1872 earthquake on the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Students will learn to explain that earthquakes are sudden motions along breaks in the crust called faults, and list the major geologic events including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and mountain building, which are the result of crustal plate motions. A downloadable, printable version (PDF) of the lesson plan is available.
The EERC at the University of Bristol has developed an Earthquake Engineering Competition that challenges secondary school students to design and make small scale models of buildings that can withstand strong earthquakes. Provided on the website are tips for model design and construction, load testing advice, and a gallery of models organized by various characteristics.
This module introduces students to minerals, crystals, and gems by using pictures and discussions of some of the extraordinary specimens residing in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution. It includes three lessons in which they draw pictures of specimens, grow their own crystals of magnesium sulfate, and perform a scavenger hunt in which they look for minerals in commonly used objects and products.
This quiz for younger students asks them 10 questions about plate motions, rock types in continental and oceanic crust, crustal formation and mountain building, the supercontinent Pangea, and the theory of continental drift. A link to a page on continental drift provides information to answer the questions.