Earthquake Hazards Around You

Kelli Wakefield, Mesa Community College
Author Profile

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see

This page first made public: May 10, 2017


Students chose a room where they spend a significant amount of time. Next, they assess the room for earthquake hazards, create a map depicting where these hazards are located, and finally, describe what would happen during an earthquake for a given intensity.

Learning Goals

Content/concepts goals
Accurately describe earthquake hazards and describe the effects of a given earthquake intensity.

Higher order thinking skills goals
Analysis of surroundings and evaluation of potential hazards.

Other skills goals
Practice map-reading and spatial skills as well as written communication.

Context for Use

Type and level of course
This activity is designed for non-majors in an introductory geology course.

Skills and concepts students should have mastered
Must be familiar with earthquake intensities.

How the activity is situated in the course
This is an activity assigned during a module on earthquake mechanics and hazards. I have used it both face-to-face and online courses.

Description and Teaching Materials

This assignment is given at the end of the Earthquake module. Students should already be familiar with mechanics of earthquakes and how they are measured.

The strength of this assignment is that when students chose a location they are familiar with, earthquake hazards become more personal.
Student Assignment Page (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 17kB Apr29 17)

Teaching Notes and Tips


I grade this assignment based on completion of the checklist and creation of the map. The written portion is checked for accuracy of the description of the intensity.

References and Resources

Checklist for Non-structural Earthquake Hazards in California Schools, 2011,
The Severity of an Earthquake, USGS, 1989-288-913,