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 the Earth Science Packet and other earth science units here or 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 Pages

Be sure to check out the Earth Science BUNDLE options at this page, down below, or in our Store!Earth Science Bundle of 5Our units are pdf dowloads!

Purchase the Earth Science Packet

Cost: $9.99

Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the pdf download link.Earth Science Worksheets and ActivitiesYou will also receive an email from SendOwl (the delivery service I use) which will give you a link to download. (Check the email linked to your PayPal account.) Of course, if you have any issues just email me at — liesl at homeschoolden dot com.  You can also reach me by using the contact form. ~Liesl

Hope you enjoy this unit! 🙂 ~Liesl

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

And one last set of pictures of what is included! 🙂

Earth Science Worksheets

Earth Science BUNDLE Options

There are several Earth Science BUNDLE options which include the Earth Science Packet above. These units can also be purchased separately.

Our packets are pdf digital downloads.

See the Earth Science Page for more details (and lots more pictures)!

Earth Science Bundle of 5

We did several units that all relate to each other. For younger students, there is a Where I Live Activity packet (My galaxy, solar system, planet, continent, country, state, town, and home!).  One year, we went on to talk about the Layers of the Atmosphere. We also talked about Earth’s magnetosphere (and did fun activities related to magnets). After we talked about the layers of the atmosphere we did a unit about clouds and weather… and learned about global and local winds, weather fronts, the jet stream, monsoons, el Niño or la Niña, and more. Note: These packets are also available separately in Our Store.

There are various Earth Science BUNDLE options below:

Earth Science BUNDLE 1

Earth Science BundlePurchase the Layers of the Atmosphere Packet ($6.99) and the Earth Science Packet ($9.99) together in a BUNDLE with the option below.

Layers of the Atmosphere Unit (50+ pages) – Quick Preview

Layers of the Atmosphere Printable ActivityClick here to find out more about the Layers of the Atmosphere Packet. It is well over 50 pages and has lots of hands-on activity ideas, worksheets, interactive notebook pages and more.

Layers of the Atmosphere PacketOur Layers of the Atmosphere Packet introduces kids to some of the basics about Earth’s atmosphere. It starts with a review of Earth’s systems: the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and atmosphere and spends  time learning about the different layers of the atmosphere (the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere). It has sorting cards and interactive notebook projects on objects & phenomena in the atmosphere. Students will learn about the Sun’s harmful rays — what they are (EM radiation) and how we are kept safe. Finally, this packet touches on satellites and the GPS system.

Purchase the Earth Science BUNDLE 1 with the link below:

Earth Science BUNDLE 1

Earth Science Unit - Layers of the Atmosphere Unit$14.99

Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the pdf download link.

Visit our Store for other packets in science, history, math, spelling and more!

Earth Science BUNDLE

Earth Science BUNDLE of 5

$34.99 Earth Science BUNDLE of 5 (Earth Science Unit, Layers of the Atmosphere Unit, Magnetism & the Magnetosphere, Weather Unit) – After we studied the Layers of the Atmosphere and the Magnetosphere, we did a big unit on the weather talking about where weather occurs, weather fronts, global and local winds, jet streams, monsoons, natural disasters etc. This bundle also includes a 100+page geology unit on Rocks and Minerals.

Earth Science Bundle of 5Again, see this Earth Science page for lots more pictures or to purchase these units separately.

$54.99 Earth Science & Physical Science BUNDLE of 10 (Save over $10 with this Bundle) 1) Earth Science Unit, 2) Layers of the Atmosphere Unit, 3) Magnetism & the Magnetosphere, 4) Weather & Natural Disasters Unit, 5) Rocks and Minerals Unit 6) Water Cycle Unit, 7) Where I Live Activity Packet – My galaxy, solar system, planet, continent, country, state, town, and home! 8) Environmental Studies: Trash and Recycling Unit; 9) Energy Packet: Kinetic vs. Potential Energy, Types and Sources of Energy, Renewable and Non-renewable Resources, Fossil Fuels, the Carbon Cycle 10) Simple Machines

FYI: The Electricity & Circuits Packet is included in the Chemistry Bundle

Be sure to check your PayPal email address for the download link.

Earth Science and Physical Science BUNDLE of 10

These packets are also sold separately in Our Store.

Rocks and Minerals Packet - worksheets activities and more

Clouds Winds Weather Worksheets - PacketLayers of the Atmosphere Packet 

You will find this packet here at the Earth Science Page 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.

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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