Earthquakes teaching pack

Last updated: 17/05/2022
Contributor: Teachit team
Earthquakes KS3 teaching pack cover image
Main Subject
Key stage
Hazardous earth: Earthquakes
Resource type
Teaching pack

Build background knowledge of plate tectonics and natural hazards, compare and contrast earthquake case studies in different geographical locations, investigate how to reduce the impacts of earthquakes with methods of protection and preparation, and design and create an earthquake-proof house!

What’s included in this teaching resource?

This 45 page key stage 3 geography teaching pack includes all the teaching resources needed for learning about natural disasters and earthquakes.

It contains hands-on inquiry based activities, independent research, collaborative group work, and fun student project activities to learn about natural disasters and earthquakes.

For teachers:

  • earthquake lesson plans with activities in step-by-step order
  • detailed teacher notes including formative and summative assessment opportunities, inquiry questions and suggestions for extensions and enhancements
  • plus a teacher pack with teaching resources, templates, worksheets and answer keys.

For students:

  • complete student pack (with printable worksheets, templates and all the instructional materials they’ll need to complete case study research, experiments)
  • plenty of fun independent and group activities.

How is this teaching resource structured?

This project-based key stage 3 teaching pack is divided into five milestones with each milestone including a self-contained student project activity.

If completed in sequence, the milestones connect to enable students to complete a final assessment activity in milestone five. 

Each milestone in the teaching pack includes lesson plans with detailed activities presented in step-by-step order, with teaching notes, instructional guidance and page references to the worksheets and other materials in the teacher pack and student pack.

Lesson activities are organised into:

  • prepare (starter activity)
  • present (teacher explanation/modelling)
  • produce (student project work)
  • participate (student/group share)
  • practice (homework/assessment/independent work)

What is the main goal of this teaching resource?

The Exploring earthquakes teaching pack is a teaching resource that is designed to teach and reinforce concepts in key stage 3 geography either as a stand-alone physical geography unit or in conjunction with existing materials in your geography curriculum. 

This teaching resource encourages geographers to work independently and collaboratively to complete activities to deepen their existing knowledge and understanding of plate tectonics and natural hazards like earthquakes.

Milestones for key stage 3 geography

By following the milestones, students begin to think like geographers, using research and map skills to explore earthquakes with different magnitudes on the Richter scale and analyse the location in relation to the tectonic plates.

Students compare and contrast earthquake case studies in different locations to examine the impacts and responses to these tectonic hazards. Students carry out experiments to understand how different materials and locations affect damage from earthquakes.

They hear from experts about how to reduce earthquake damage to buildings before designing and building their own earthquake-proof houses. They also learn from the Haiti earthquake how the responses to a natural disaster can impact how a place recovers in the aftermath.

The final milestone provides students with the opportunity to use presentation skills and reflect on what they have learned during this physical geography unit. 

Take a closer look

Milestone 1: Background knowledge about earthquakes

Identify different types of natural disasters and tectonic hazards.

Explore the impacts of the Gorkha earthquake in Nepal and how the Red Cross helped.

Complete a K-W-L chart to show what they already know about tectonic hazards and earthquakes and what they want to learn.

Milestone 2: Earthquake research

Investigate earthquakes with different magnitudes on the Richter scale.

Research an earthquake to learn about the causes, impacts and responses to the event. 

Compare and contrast earthquake case studies in different geographical locations. 

Milestone 3: Designing earthquake-proof houses

Conduct experiments to determine how building materials and locations impact a building’s damage-level during an earthquake.

Explain how scientists are designing earthquake-proof buildings.

Apply what they learned in the experiments and video to design their own earthquake-proof houses.

Milestone 4: Earthquake-proof house models

Explain how to stay safe during an earthquake.

Build a model of an earthquake-proof house.

Milestone 5: Project presentations

Explain how earthquake relief efforts were carried out in Haiti.

Present projects to the class.

Other teaching resources to explore

Download or browse Teachit Geography’s entire teaching pack collection. And … for more topical or related teaching resources and worksheets to support teaching natural hazards, you might find this collection valuable too.

Our thanks also go to colleagues at for allowing us to re-use their original content.

Sample - student activity 

Plate tectonics and earthquakes

Part A

Directions: The movement of tectonic plates along boundaries can cause earthquakes. Using reference materials, find ten places in which earthquakes have occurred during the past 25 years. Fill in the latitude and longitude of each location.




Tectonic Plates:

Part B

Plot each of the earthquakes listed, on the world map to the right. Determine which tectonic plates moved to cause the earthquake. Fill in the tectonic plates above.

Earthquakes teaching pack

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