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Earthquakes Activities for Middle School Science

The resources below will provide students a comprehensive understanding of earthquakes.  All of  the following lessons are also included in the Kesler Science Membership.

The Earthquakes 5E Lesson includes materials for every "E" phase, including the Earthquakes Station Lab for Exploration and an interactive PowerPoint with digital INB templates for Explanation.

The lesson also includes introduction materials for Engagement, student-choice project ideas for Elaboration, and assessments for Evaluation.

After completing the Earthquakes 5E Lesson, students will be able to describe the formation of earthquakes, differentiate between the 3 main stresses that cause earthquakes, compare and contrast P and S seismic waves, and calculate how to triangulate the epicenter of an earthquake.

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The Earthquakes Inquiry Lab is a hands-on activity that is differentiated for advanced, on-level, and modified middle school students.

Students will calculate lag time data to determine the epicenter of different earthquakes. They will also use rocks and water to learn about waves and triangulation.

The Earthquakes Inquiry Lab includes a brief reading passage, comprehension checks, hands-on activities, reflection questions, and a CER conclusion.


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Earthquakes Classroom Experiences

Create a powerful student experience to help solidify students' understanding about earthquakes. The following experience is also included in the Kesler Science Membership.


The Shake, Rattle, and Roll STEM Challenge uses the engineering design process to build a seismograph to understand seismic waves and earthquakes.

Students will be using collaborative skills such as brainstorming with their peers and reflecting on their progress during the project.

At the end of the Shake, Rattle, and Roll STEM challenge, students are given an opportunity to share their projects outside of the classroom.

Year-Round Resources

These year-round activities will increase your students' understanding of many middle school science topics. All of these activities are also included in the Kesler Science Membership.

Visual Data & Graphing

You're not alone if your students struggle with understanding graphs, charts, and tables. It's a skill that takes an enormous amount of practice. This resource will help students build a strong foundation in analyzing data and creating their own data visualizations.

Bell Ringers and Warm-Ups

These middle school science bell ringers are an excellent way to engage your students as soon as they walk into your classroom. This comprehensive FULL YEAR resource includes everything you need to start off each science class with an interesting warm-up activity.

Review Board Games

Each game board has been carefully designed to keep students engaged. There are 10 different action spaces on each board and dozens of question cards. All of the actions are related to science concepts and keep the students motivated throughout the game.

Each game is ready to play. Simply print out the board and the cards and let the students enjoy reviewing nine different units.

Essential Questions and Standards

Below are the essential questions and standards associated with the lessons and activities included in the earthquakes unit. This topic is only one of more than 100 middle school science topics included in the Kesler Science Membership.

Essential Questions
  • How do plate boundaries impact earthquakes?
  • How are stresses in rocks related to faults?
  • What are the characteristics of different types of seismic waves?
  • How are epicenters determined?
  • How do tsunamis form?
  • How are earthquakes measured?
  • How can humans prepare for for the impact of an earthquake?
  • MS ESS3-2 - Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects

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Kesler Science Membership

Imagine never having to search for another middle school science lesson again. The membership gives you access to ALL of the Kesler Science products in one place (Yes, including everything above).

Say goodbye to long hours of lesson prep.