In this activity, students take on the roles of seismologists, vulcanologists and geographers, using maps to look for patterns in the worldwide distribution of earthquakes, volcanoes and topographic features.

By the end of this activity, students should:

  • see patterns in the worldwide distribution of earthquakes, volcanoes and topographic features and develop an understanding of the idea of a dynamic Earth
  • understand that New Zealand’s location on a plate boundary explains why the country has so many earthquakes and volcanoes
  • be able to relate their findings to the positions of tectonic plates and their boundaries
  • be able to predict where future earthquakes might occur, use the latitude and longitude co-ordinates to plot the locations of earthquakes, compare with existing patterns and explain any new observations
  • understand that specialists collaborate to provide evidence to support their ideas.

Download the Word file (see link below) for:

  • introduction/background
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • extension ideas
  • part 1 – seismologist instructions
  • part 1 – vulcanologist instructions
  • part 1 – geographer instructions
  • part 2 – specialists working together instructions
  • world map for vulcanologists
  • world map for seismologists
  • world map for geographers
  • world map showing main tectonic plates
  • part 3 – predicting earthquakes.

Acknowledgment

This activity was developed for the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and has been kindly provided for use on the Science Learning Hub.

    Published 17 November 2009, Updated 5 February 2013