Previous Earthquakes Lesson Plan

Students will learn about previous earthquakes and will be able to prepare themselves for future earthquakes with safety precautions.
Materials: Computers with internet access
1.    Ask students which earthquakes they remember hearing about in the news during the past few years. What were the effects of these earthquakes? What lessons might these earthquakes teach us to help us better prepare for future ones? Discussion.
2.    Inform students that the San Francisco Bay area has suffered from serious earthquakes and is at high risk for another major earthquake.
3.    Divide the class into small groups of approximately four students each. Have all but one of the groups use the library and/or the Internet to find out about different major earthquakes that have occurred in the past 20 years. Some earthquakes to research include the Loma Prieta (San Francisco Bay area), Northridge (Los Angeles), Kobe, and Turkish quakes. Ask them to answer the following questions:
-Why did an earthquake occur here? Is this city in a major fault zone?
-How severe was this earthquake? What was its ranking on the Richter scale?
-How did this earthquake affect people’s lives in the region?
-What was the quality of construction in the region? How did buildings and other structures fare in the quake?
-How prepared was this city for an earthquake? What evidence is there to support your answer?
4.    Go over earthquake precautions and safety. Where to go and what to do if an earthquake should occur.
Students will have equally participated within the group discussions and will have reported accurate information.