In November, Friends School of Minnesota 6th graders were studying earthquakes.


We finished our earthquake resistant buildings (engineering). We practiced earthquake events (by modeling).

The students made layers of the earth’s crust out of different colors of modeling clay. They sliced a plates“fault” through the earth and practiced strike-slip movement, reverse faults, and hanging faults. The next day they modeled different earthquake waves using Slinky springs. They pushed for P waves, shook side-to-side for S waves, and lifted and dropped to create surface waves.

We finished that portion of our study by watching a video of what to do if you are ever in an earthquake. We practiced the Great California Shake Out – a 2 minute and 45 second drill where the kids have to Drop (to the floor), Cover (their head), and Hold On. They were awesome.

We continued mapping earthquake activity as it is occurring around the world (real data analysis). The USGS posts daily earthquakes along with the magnitudes. We will be adding to the same map weekly until we start to notice patterns around the world. Over two wavesdays in November, we mapped a total of 62 earthquakes.

In January, we borrowed an official “tremor table” from the Science Museum and tested out the strength of our structures.