Earthquakes can happen anywhere, but some areas of the country are more prone to earthquakes than others. If you work with children in an area prone to earthquakes, take the kids on a field trip to a fault line or a building that has sustained damage from an earthquake.
Even in areas not prone to earthquakes, everyone should know what to do in case of an earthquake. At school, kids should remember the "drop, cover and hold" method: When an earthquake comes, the kids drop down and seek cover underneath their desk. They then hold onto their necks with their hands. If the desks are movable, have them hold onto their desks. Instruct them that they may have to move the desk if a roof caves in. After the earthquake, have them go outside to an open area to escape any structural damage the earthquake may have caused.
After an earthquake drill, go over potential hazards that may occur inside or on the way out of the classroom, such as bookshelves full of heavy books that could topple over, or objects near the windows that may cause windows to break or fall on kids' heads. Describe alternate escape routes that will help the children avoid structural damage such as roof collapse. Also go over where would they drop and cover at home, or what would they do at the store.
Have the children do a research report on earthquakes. Topics can include different earthquake events, such as the 1964 Alaskan earthquake that lasted almost four minutes. Place several topic ideas on pieces of paper in a hat, and have each child draw out a topic. For younger kids, do a presentation on the basics of earthquakes. Show them a transparency that shows where earthquakes have occurred the United States. Provide sheets for the kids to colour that correspond with the transparency.
Shaking It Up
Ask the kids to write down how long they think an earthquake lasts. Write all the responses on the board, then explain that the average earthquake lasts 30 to 40 seconds. Have the kids sit, without looking at the clock, and try to estimate a minute of time passing. Take this time to explain how the first stages of an earthquake feel.