Exploring Earthquakes Project-Based Learning Unit

Exploring Earthquakes Project-Based Learning Unit from TeacherVision
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A Complete NGSS-Aligned Lesson on Earthquakes and Plate Tectonics

Build background knowledge of plate tectonics and how earthquakes form, investigate the 2015 Nepal earthquake to understand the potential for damage, conduct experiments to determine how building materials and location impact damage levels, and design and create earthquake-proof houses!

Your students will combine research and design skills with scientific inquiry in this project-based learning unit for grades 6-8 science. They'll learn about plate tectonics and how earthquakes form, study the potential for damage by comparing and contrasting different types of earthquake locations, experiment with the scientific method to determine how geologists and planners design earthquake-proof buildings, and "show what they know" by designing, building and testing an earthquake-proof model house.

What's Inside

Packed with hands-on inquiry-based activities, extensions and enhancements, cross-curricular independent and group work, and engaging and interactive challenges, this 47-page project-based unit comes complete with:

  • For the Teacher: A complete Earthquakes Lesson Plan with step-by-step instructions for all activities, teaching tips, assessment guidance, and inquiry questions.
  • For Students: A full-color Student Pack complete with all of the printables, slides, photos, and instructions students need for the research, experiments and activities - just print (or share) and teach!

A complete, ready-to-teach Teacher Pack that includes:

  1. Teacher versions of all the student printables with step-by-step annotations and notes for teaching plate tectonics and earthquakes;
  2. Formative and summative assessments, answer keys, and a full project rubric;
  3. Instructions and guidance for the extension activities and project enhancements;
  4. Materials and resources lists, links to articles, videos, and research, plus additional resources for lecture and presentation.

What's Included

Lesson Plan - Step-by-Step Project Teaching Guide

  • Milestone 1: Building Background Knowledge of Earthquakes
  • Milestone 2: Earthquake Research
  • Milestone 3: Designing Earthquake-Proof Houses
  • Milestone 4: Building Earthquake-Proof House Models
  • Milestone 5: Project Presentations

Teacher and Student Resources

  • Materials List - Materials Needed for the Projects in this Worksheet
  • List of Books About Earthquakes for Background Reading (Optional)
  • Earthquake KWL Chart
  • Milestone 1 Inquiry Question Writing Prompt Worksheet
  • Student Printable - How to Do Good Research 
  • Plate Tectonics Mapping and Plotting Activity
  • Earthquake Magnitude Matching Activity and Answer Key
  • Earthquake Research Activity Graphic Organizer and Example
  • Milestone 2 Inquiry Question Writing Prompt Worksheet
  • Earthquake Quick Quiz Summative Assessment and Answer Key
  • 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Reading Passage
  • Writing Prompt/Video Review - The Future of Earthquake-Proof Buildings
  • Earthquake-Proof House Planner Graphic Organizer
  • Earthquake-Proof House Design Graphic Organizer
  • Milestone 3 Inquiry Question Writing Prompt Worksheet
  • Earthquake Safety Tips Activity and Answer Key
  • Milestone 4 Inquiry Question Writing Prompt Worksheet
  • Earthquake Relief Efforts Activity and Answer Key
  • Milestone 5 Inquiry Question Writing Prompt Worksheet
  • Earthquakes Summative Unit Assessment and Answer Key
  • Exploring Earthquakes Project Grading Rubric

 

Grades
6 |
7 |
8
Subjects
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TYPE
 Lesson Plan - Exploring Earthquakes Project-Based Learning Lesson
Teacher Pack - Exploring Earthquakes Project-Based Learning Lesson
Student Pack - Exploring Earthquakes Project-Based Learning Lesson

OVERVIEW:

This project-based learning lesson is designed to support and reinforce the concepts taught as part of a science lesson or unit on plate tectonics and earthquakes. It is built around 5 inquiry-based milestones that incorporate cross-curricular hands-on projects, formative and summative assessments, independent and group activities, and extensions.

STUDENT/GROUP OUTPUT:

In the course of this project-based learning unit, students will:

  • Build background knowledge about plate tectonics and how earthquakes form;
  • Look in depth at the 2015 Nepal earthquake, and others, to determine how earthquake damage and response varies;
  • Conduct experiments to determine how building materials and locations impact a building’s damage level during an earthquake.;
  • Use research and problem-solving skills to understand the design of earthquake-proof buildings;
  • "Show what they know" by designing, building, and testing a model of an earthquake-proof house.

SUGGESTED SUBJECT PREREQUISITES:

Students will acquire necessary background knowledge of plate tectonics and earthquakes as part of this project, and instructional materials for providing that background are included in the Teacher Pack. 

SEQUENCE AND PACING:

This project-based unit is divided into 5 milestones. The minimum suggested duration for completing this project-based unit is 5 class periods. However, the unit is completely flexible can be lengthened or shortened as necessary or desired, based on available class time and interest level.

TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES (suggested):

  • Internet access

STANDARDS ALIGNMENT:

These activities support the following NGSS curriculum standards:

  • MS-ESS2-2, Earth Systems
  • MS-ESS3-2, Earth and Human Activity
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