The Earthquake Game (Grades K-3)

This activity introduces the use of earthquakes to track magma movement. Divide the students into groups and form four parallel lines. They need to hold hands and stand shoulder to shoulder. The lines of students represent the outer layers of the earth and serve as a barrier to magma moving towards the surface. A student or teacher must play the part of the magma. The "magma" starts at the "bottom" and looks for weak places in the layers. If the magma can break through a layer, i.e., break through the grip of two students, it moves towards the surface. The students at the break must clap to represent the energy released by earthquakes. Ideally, the magma moves quickly to the surface, its progress marked by a pathway of clapping students. In practice, the magma may not have enough pressure to break through some "hard" layers and is captured, preventing an eruption. The latter case often happens at real volcanoes and is called an intrusion. Remember to link the movement of magma with the cracking of rocks and the generation of earthquakes.


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