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The Great Shakeout

Resources for K-12 teachers to help students understand earthquakes and how engineering helps us prepare to survive them.

The Great Shakeout is about being prepared for an earthquake, knowing how to respond, and practicing that response.

What Causes Earthquakes, Where Do They Occur, and  
What Are Seismic Waves?

Oregon Plate Map
Photo credit: IRIS
  • Make Your Own Earthquake - This page lists activities that can be used to help teach students about the characteristics of earthquake motion and how earthquakes affect structures. Through a crafted set of learning modules that utilize low cost equipment, your students will experience what it is like to be a real earthquake engineer!
  • Seismic Monitor - An interactive map of recent earthquakes that have occurred worldwide
  • Teachable Moments - Resources about recent earthquake data (all grades)
  • Notable Earthquakes: Oregon and
    - Interactive map
  • Plate Boundaries - Interactive map for Oregon and Washington
  • What Makes the Earth Shake? - A video discussion of plate tectonics for elementary school students from NEES@Cornell and the Sciencenter
    [ view | download ] (video, 1 minute 39 seconds)
  • Earthquake 101 - Earthquake basics from the National Geographic Channel
    (video, 2 minutes 39 seconds)

How Do Structures Respond in Earthquakes?

Bedroom Without Anchoring image

Photo Credit: NEES@Buffalo

How Are Tsunamis Formed and Where Do They Occur?

Interactive Tsunami Website image Photo credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute has developed a comprehensive tsunami information interactive website for 5th - 12th grade students.  Note: this may take some time to load.

National Geographic's Tsunami 101 informational video

How Do Earthquake Professionals Help Protect Us
Against Earthquake and Tsunami Damage and Losses?

Sciencenter Engineering video
  • Engineers Working to Make Us Safer - 
    view download ] (video, 1 minute, 37 seconds)
  • Exciting Earthquake Experiments - 
    view download ] (video, 1 minute, 40 seconds)
  • Examples of Earthquake Engineering Research - [  view download ] (video, 1 minute)

Fun: Facts, Games and Amusements

Earthquake and Tsunami coloring pages
Photo credit:

Visuals, Videos and Graphics

San Francisco Earthquake 1906 photo