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  • What happens to communities after an earthquake? What steps do they need to take? Are there things we could do now to help protect them in the future?

    Te Papa and EQC have published a resource, Building an earthquake-ready future, aimed at curriculum levels 2–5 covering science, social studies and literacy.

    The resource supports teachers to provide students opportunities to explore the effects of earthquakes on a community and use the design process to come up with prototypes that will help solve some of the problems they face both physically and socially. The resource is structured into two different levels so that the content is audience appropriate and really focuses on finding solutions in a positive way. Students feel they are contributing to something and building a better future.

    Students begin by exploring different media that show some of the effects of earthquakes on a community. This can be damage that happens to buildings and why, as well as some of the social effects such as a decrease in wellbeing and population decrease. They will then choose a problem to focus on and brainstorm all the different solutions they can think of to fix, mitigate and even eradicate the problem. Students will then pick what they feel is the most viable option and prototype and test this. The results can then be presented back to the class for feedback and next steps.

    Design thinking approach

    The resource follows the Stanford design thinking model, allowing students and teachers to explore project-based learning and design thinking in their classroom. This is a great way to introduce enquiry learning to the classroom or to build on it if students are already familiar. The structure can also be applied to multiple different topics so teachers may take this resource and continue to apply it once the unit has finished.

    Related content

    This series of activities is designed to help students develop an understanding about earthquakes in New Zealand, including why we get them and how we measure them.

    This article connects more activities and background information about earthquakes for teachers and students. For younger students, see the resources mentioned in the article On shaky ground.

    Realistic contexts connect students to authentic scientific processes and purposes – it’s all explained in Earthquakes resources – planning pathways.


    This article has been written by Jessie Robieson, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

      Published 7 August 2020 Referencing Hub articles
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