Teaching sequence

Lesson objective

In this lesson students describe the effects of earthquakes on buildings using simulation investigations.


Show the students the video Earthquakes and their impact.

Ask students to suggest what can be done to minimise the damage from an earthquake.


  1. Explain to the students that sometimes during earthquakes liquefaction occurs. Describe ‘liquefaction’.
    Teacher note: For a definition of liquefaction see Background information.
  2. Conduct the activity Faultline: liquefaction.  Ask students to describe what is happening in this activity and to describe the effects of liquefaction on buildings.
  3. Conduct the activity Constructing earthquake-proof buildings and analyse findings.


Discuss which types of structures are more likely to withstand an earthquake.

Lesson Resources


Student activities

Digital resources

Earthquakes and their impact,
Museum Victoria. Video (2:38 min) 

Faultline: liquefaction,
Exploratorium. Simulation activity 

Constructing earthquake-proof buildings,
Discovery Education. Activity


Useful links

Managing tectonic hazards,
BBC Bitesize. Information and quiz