Improving on prior understanding
Students had limited prior understanding of earthquakes. Some of our feeder primary schools now tackle ‘Hazards’ as part of the KS2 creative curriculum although by Year 8 students seemed to get rather confused between hurricanes and earthquakes.
To ensure progression, students were led through the basics such as the layers of the earth, plates and types of plate margins. In a similar way to controlled assessments students were then allowed to prepare illustrations, maps and diagrams for their test – a homework task. Progression was noted in the following lesson when students completed their test.
Practical activities to motivate students
Practical activities were included in lessons to engage and motivate the students. Examples include using custard/biscuits to represent the movement of tectonic plates and some drama to show the impacts of earthquakes and the ways to protect yourself.
Active discussion and demonstration helped to motivate students to ask questions and see that not all possible preparations are practical, useful or ultimately sensible.
For the leaflet exercise students were given a variety of resources, for example, the American Red Cross Earthquake Safety Checklist.
For the personal story students watched video extracts and made notes on a stick person diagram to show impacts on the senses and emotions. Students had to use their imagination and for ‘what you would hear’ they listened to the videos with their eyes closed.
There was something for everyone in this unit be they auditory, visual or kinaesthetic learners and this maintained motivation throughout.
Useful links to earthquake videos on YouTube include:
Visit the GA’s earthquakes area for links to resources on more recent earthquakes including Christchurch and the Japan tsunami.