Earth Science Activities: Earthquakes, Plate Movement and Mountain Making

Last week I explained how we made an Earthquake Shake Table and shared a quick video on how we made ours.  We first tested it with marshmallow structures.  A couple days later, we made “brick” structures out of sugar cubes and peanut butter.  We put on the documentary, Deadliest Earthquakes, and set to work.


We all built our structures and then brought out our shake table to test them out!


The most exciting structure we tested was ED’s. The first time they pulled the shake table, one brick fell off the top. With the second earthquake, the entire wall fell down!


As we finished up our unit we talked about the plate movements again.  We reviewed the three types of plate boundaries:

  1. divergent boundary — plates move apart. Most divergent boundaries are found in the ocean such as the mid-ocean ridges.
  2. convergent boundary — occurs where plates push together
  3. transform boundary — occurs where plates scrape past each other.

We pulled out our Earth science notebook pages and went over those again. We also talked convection currents and talked about the experiment we did in November showing plate movement:


Then we went over the four types of mountains. We talked quite a bit about fold mountains again.  This was one of the activities we did. On a deep plate, we added a small bit of water and placed two graham crackers on top. Slowly, we pressed the two graham crackers together with slow-but-steady pressure:


This Earth science activity can also be done with towels. Just be sure to press them together slowly, not quickly. When we compared these to a picture of the Alps, the kids could really understand how the two tectonic plates converging could make mountains rise (and fold too).


We finished out the unit making sure we had finished all of our Earth Science notebook pages. These pages are available in the 75+ Page Earth Science Packet.

Earth Science Worksheets-Types of Mountains VolcanoesEarth Science Worksheets

One last thing before I go. I thought I should share some of the books we used for this part of our Earth Science Unit:

We especially liked the books below. These are affiliate links:


Don’t miss our 150+ page Earth Science Packet!! You will find this packet and more in our Store!

Learn how to make a earthquake shake table, more than a dozen hands-on activities on the layers of the earth, volcanoes, earthquakes, plate movement and more!

Topics include: Solar System, Layers of the Earth, Earth’s Axis and the Seasons, Latitude and Longitude, Plate Tectonics, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, 4 Types of Mountains

Earth Science Packet

Earth-Science-Packet 150 page - worksheets hands-on activities and more

Earth Science Unit - Layers of the Earth Activities Types of Volcanoes Worksheets - Interactive Notebook Pages

Faults Earthquake Waves Worksheets Volcano Worksheets and Notebook PagesLayers of the Atmosphere Packet 

You will find this packet and more in our Store!

Layers of the Atmosphere Packet - Worksheets Hands-On Activities Notebook Pages Layers of the Atmosphere Printable Activity Earth Systems - Atmosphere Geosphere Hydrosphere Notebook Activity - Earth System Lapbook Pieces Earth's Atmosphere Packet 50+ pages

You Might Be Interested in These Related Posts:

Earth Science Unit - Earthquake Shake Table

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Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

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2 Responses

  1. Liesl says:

    I just bought the earth science packet and laughed when I saw who created it. My boys said, “Mom did you make all that?” Liesl

    • homeschooldenadmin says:

      That’s so funny! My daughter read a book last Spring by an author named “Liesl Shurtliff.” (The book was called Jack: the True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk) She loved the book a lot and thought it was SO awesome it was written by another Liesl. She decided to write a letter to the author (and mentioned that her Mom’s name is Liesl too). She was thrilled when the author wrote her back this summer! There sure aren’t very many of us (named Liesl) out there. 🙂

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