Skip to content

ShakeOut Educational Resources

Simple Activities and Games

These activities are designed to increase student knowledge about earthquake science and preparedness. They can be done anytime in the weeks leading up to the ShakeOut drill. Each activity should last approximately half an hour and can be used in classrooms, museums, and other educational settings. They are not sequence-bound, but when used together they provide an overview of earthquake information for children and students of various ages.

Each activity has a guide, followed by matching activity sheets. Directions on how to conduct each activity and relevant background content for each topic can be found in the guide pages.

Earth Science Activities

Tsunami in a Bottle Guide and Materials (416 KB PDF)

Measure My Magnitude Guide and Materials (PDF)

Fault Block Models Guide and Materials (132 KB PDF)

Finding Plates by Plotting Quakes Guide and Materials (PDF)

Mercalli Scale Guide and Materials (348 KB PDF)

Preparedness Activities

My ShakeOut Story Guide and Materials (PDF)

Beat the Quake Guide and Materials (PDF)

Disaster Supplies Kit Concentration (game) Guide and Materials (396 KB PDF)

Pass the Flashlight! (game) Guide and Materials (268 KB PDF)

Safe Areas Guide (88 KB PDF) Materials (NOTE: 182 MB PDF- document contains large color photos and may take up to 15 minutes to download depending on your connection speed.)

Educational Materials, Websites, and other Resources

The following materials are resources for K-12 educators to help students prepare for the ShakeOut drill this October. The lesson plans and activities are organized by grade but they can be adapted for most grade levels.

American Red Cross Resources for Schools

FEMA 527 – Earthquake Safety Activities for Children and Teenagers (PDF)

  • Provides ready-to-use, hands-on activities for students and teachers explaining what happens during an earthquake, how to prepare, and how to stay safe during and after an earthquake.
  • Contains reference section for FEMA Publications

Tremor Troop: EARTHQUAKES – A Teacher's Package for Grades K-6

  • Tremor Troop publication includes matrices that link classroom activities to the National Science Education Standards
  • Lessons introduce how earthquakes are defined, why and where earthquakes occur, the physical results of earthquakes, and how earthquakes are measured.

Seismic Sleuths: Earthquakes– A Teacher's Package for Grades 7-12

  • Provides middle and high school teachers with information about the causes and effects of earthquakes.
  • Discuss the causes of earthquakes, crustal stresses and the earth's structure, and their effects; seismic waves and the development of seismology; earthquake resistant design techniques; earthquake preparedness and historical earthquakes.

USGS Earthquakes for Kids

  • Topics include: Latest Quakes, Learning Links & Earthquake Activities, Earthquake History, Science Fair Project Ideas, Animations, Earthquake Facts & Pictures, and Ask a Geologist.

USGS Earthquakes for Teachers

  • Links include: Earthquake Photo Collections, PowerPoint Slideshow, Animations for Earthquake Terms & Concepts, USGS Education Website, Store, Publications, and Maps.

California Geological Survey - Earthquakes

  • Studies earthquakes to help Californians plan and build earthquake resistant communities.
  • Record the strong ground motion from earthquakes, study the distribution of historic earthquakes and evaluate faults that are the source of earthquakes
  • Combine that information to prepare maps showing the potential for ground shaking, fault rupture, liquefaction and seismically induced landslides.

California Geological Survey - Seismic Hazard Zone Maps

  • Locations of active faults, and potential liquefaction and landslide zones.
  • Includes interactive map (PDF)

California Geological Survey Educational Resources Center

  • Includes: Statewide Geology Maps, Teacher’s Aid, California Geology 101 (History and Glossary of terminologies), Student Activities, and the CGS Library database.
© 2024 Statewide California Earthquake Center (SCEC), headquartered at the University of Southern California (USC)
The Great California ShakeOut