Page Teacher 

Time Requirements:

  • Preparation Time:  about 1- hour
  • Class Time:  about 3  1-hour class sessions

Student Skills Required:

  • Familiarity with any efficient Web browsing tool
  • Basic map reading capability
  • Familiarity with local geography
  • Basic understanding of local geology
  • Rudimentary understanding of earthquake mechanics


The purpose of this activity is to aid students in developing a better understanding of the complex nature of the interaction between human beings and earthquakes. This will be accomplished by engaging the students in the use of on-line earthquake hazard maps as well as other relevant seismic information, which they later apply to the assessment and mitigation of threats to life and property associated with hypothetical earthquakes of various magnitudes. Students should be encouraged to work in groups to glean, process, and discuss information pertinent to their particular home or school locations from various public access world-wide-web sites.


  1. Prior to directing students toward this lesson, obtain as many geologic, city/street, and topographic maps of your area as you can get your hands on. Geologic and topographic maps may be obtained locally at any store that distributes United States Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.) materials, or by contacting the U.S.G.S. directly. Local city/street maps may be obtained from your local AAA outlet. Before giving students access to these maps, mount each one on an appropriately sized piece of foam or card board, and cover with a sheet of thin transparent, plastic material.
  2. Worksheets and handouts that you feel are appropriate.

Strategies:  Classroom discussions & activities

Students will find most of the essential challenges and instructions for this on-line activity by accessing the Big Trouble In Earthquake Country Home Page . However, before introducing them to this activity, go through it yourself to determine what you can do to best ensure that their experience is most fruitful. Overall, be sure to encourage discussion throughout the various phases of this activity.

Note:  Please direct feedback, questions, comments, or suggestions for this lesson to the author , or to outreach@ssl.berkeley.edu.


Teacher's Info

S.F. Bay Area Students Start

Non-S.F. Bay Area Students Start


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