Sunday, April 21, 2013

Shakin Quakin Earthquake Showdown

Earth day is this Monday! Right around this time every year it's time to put on our geologist hats and start our unit on Rocks and Minerals. This is also a fun time to tie in Volcanoes and Earthquakes as we learn all about our Shakin Quakin Earth & Rocks!!!

We do a lot of fun hands on activities during our rocks unit, but I think our Jello Earthquake simulations have to be everyone's favorite! This activity comes up near the end of the unit, after we have learned all about rocks, minerals, and the inner layer of our earth. I was scrolling through my computer and found some fun pictures that I captured last year, right around the time I was thinking of getting into blogging. 

I start by telling my students that their challenge is to create a building/structure using toothpicks and marshmallows that they thought would be strong enough to survive an earthquake, just like real architects have to do. I'm always so impressed by some of the structures they come up with!

Then, we put them to the test! Using aluminum trays from the Dollar Store filled with jello we start to shake things up. Each group (about 6 kids per group in my room) get a tray of jello. In pairs, they put their structures on the jello then shake it out for 10-15 seconds. The waiting members of the group are usually all too eager to do the counting for them.

Some structures survive, others don't. Everyone has fun either way. And, they learn the importance of building a strong base and how having one can help keep people and whole cities safer during an earth quake! And if you're wondering, yes, everyone gets some jello to snack on in the end. :)

This Shaking Quakin Earth Rocks Unit For The Common Core Classroom has two weeks worth of rockin activities about rocks, minerals, layers or the earth, earthquakes, and volcanoes.

{It's 20% off today in my shop today}

Off to continue the "show home-ing" process. 
We have all hands on deck at the Stewart house today!! Wish us luck! :)


  1. I absolutely LOVE this idea. I'm finding I don't do enough science--at least hands-on science. Doing some hands on stuff with a foodie integration is great.

    You Might Be a First Grader….

  2. The earthquake simulation is great! We're doing rocks now...need to remember this! Thanks for sharing!

    :)Tamra and Sarah
    First Grade Buddies

  3. This looks like SO much fun!! I am racking my brain trying to figure out how I could possibly tie this into our science curriculum of solids and liquids, life cycles, sound, and weather . . . . . I've put it on my wishlist until I can figure it out!! :)

    Second Grade Math Maniac

  4. How fun! It is on my wishlist for next year! We already did rocks but am wondering how I can justify the earthquake experiment this year yet! Thanks for sharing!