Earthquakes for Middle School: Lessons and Curriculum Sequence
Earthquakes are a great topic for middle school. On this page we will explore lesson sequencing and engineering connections to help you create high engagement science experience with middle level learners. Prior to starting this lesson sequence it is important that students have an understanding of plate tectonics and the composition of the Earth.
Earthquake Lesson 1: An introduction
Earthquake surveillance videos are amazing. Office cams, ring door bells provide a wealth of Youtube content that students love. Use one of these videos to capture your students imagination. The key to any introductory science lesson is to engage and excite your learners. Ask them what they would do in the situation, or what would it fee like to be in that situation.
Hands on Exploration
From there we introduce the concepts of forces and deformation. This is accomplished through a fun class challenge, build a paper bridge and see who can hold the most pennies. Use this hand of activity to illustrate how forces can affect the Earths plates and structures built on top of them.
Directed instruction after an exciting activity is the perfect way to capture your students attention. Work carefully as you will have between 5 to 10 minutes of engagement with a typical middle level learner. Connecting a fun experience to lesson concepts is the key to successful teaching. Topics we cover through direct instruction, reading or video include the following.
Connection and Reflection
Conversion of potential to kinetic energy is the perfect tie in to pull physical science into earth science. Anytime you can make a cross discipline connection is an opportunity to improve learning. At the completion of our core lesson, I want to provide an opportunity for reflection, we accomplish this though Cornell style notes. Asking students to write a 3 to 5 sentence reflection on what they learned helps them move new content into long term memory.
Working with new materials or content is important. Each student needs the opportunity to look at new learning experiences and check their understanding. This formative assessment is vital for your maintenance and ongoing success of your classroom. In our lesson we use Google Sortable activities that allow students to drag and drop lesson ideas into graphically engaging pictures.
Closure questions help student recall and synthesis new information. For this lesson it could be something as simple as "Explain the three types of faults that cause an Earthquake" or "Name a fault that is near our school." The goal is 100% participation to ensure that all learners have the opportunity to learn.
Looking for resources to put this lesson together. Check out our complete Earthquakes Lesson 1 for Middle School. There you will find this entire lesson with video resources, editable student templates and dynamic instructional materials.
The following are the next two lesson links in our series, please check back as we will be adding lesson content to this page.