We are still really enjoying our new science curriculum, CKE Earth & Space. In the past few weeks, we’ve been learning about the Earth’s layers (you can see our Layers of the Earth model here), tectonic plates, volcanoes, and earthquakes. This was one of the hands-on activities suggested to go with the teaching on earthquakes.
metal cookie sheet
First the kids constructed a tower on the cookie sheet using the wooden blocks. Then two of the girls sat on either side of the cookie sheet and shook it as if there were an earthquake. Not surprisingly, the tower crumbled with very little shaking and the blocks fell.
The metal cookie tray is meant to represent a tectonic plate and the shaking represents the shifting that happens with an earthquake.
Next, we all worked together to construct a tower with interlocking Lego blocks. The kids, our boys especially, are always excited when Lego and school collide! We made it approximately the same height and shape as the wooden block tower. It took much longer of course to make the Lego brick tower, which led to a discussion about how sometimes doing things the right way takes more time.
We set the new tower on the cookie sheet and the same two girls got on either side (in order for the experiment to be as scientific as possible, we wanted to use the same people so they could attempt to create the same earthquake force). At first, the girls recreated the same shaking they had the first time and the tower stayed intact.
They became more and more forceful with the shaking, eventually lifting the tray up and banging it up and down as well as side to side before they were able to knock the tower over and dislodge a few of the bricks.
This simple earthquake experiment was an easy way to demonstrate to the kids why buildings in earthquake prone areas need to be built differently to withstand the fallout of the quakes.
If you are looking for other hands-on Science activities for learning about the Earth, you may be interested in following my CKE Earth & Space Pinterest board.