About 14,000 earthquakes are recorded in and around New Zealand every year. Canterbury’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake and subsequent aftershocks show the constant threat underlying some parts of New Zealand.

The Christchurch earthquakes demonstrate how destructive these events can be. They’ve also shown that we need to think very carefully about how buildings are designed.

Our earthquake collection of resources assists teachers to explain and demonstrate a number of important science ideas to their students. This teacher resource uses many of the articles and images about earthquakes but has modified them to be used in middle/upper primary classrooms. 

The learning outcomes of this teacher resource are that students will:

  • understand that the Earth is made of layers and that the crust is underlain with tectonic plates
  • understand that earthquakes occur on/near plate boundaries
  • appreciate how technological advances are making buildings safer in the event of an earthquake.

Students will meet these learning objectives by:

  • using analogies to investigate/explain the Earth’s layers
  • assembling tectonic plate puzzles
  • modelling tectonic plate boundaries and movements
  • investigating building design and base isolation principles
  • investigating how to make the classroom and their homes safer prior to an earthquake.

Download the unit plan.

    Published 12 April 2011