Earth day is this Monday! Right around this time every year it’s time to put on our geologist hats and start our unit on Rocks and Minerals. This is also a fun time to tie in Volcanoes and Earthquakes as we learn all about our Shakin Quakin Earth & Rocks!!!
We do a lot of fun hands on activities during our rocks unit, but I think our Jello Earthquake simulations have to be everyone’s favorite! This activity comes up near the end of the unit, after we have learned all about rocks, minerals, and the inner layer of our earth. I was scrolling through my computer and found some fun pictures that I captured last year, right around the time I was thinking of getting into blogging.
I start by telling my students that their challenge is to create a building/structure using toothpicks and marshmallows that they thought would be strong enough to survive an earthquake, just like real architects have to do. I’m always so impressed by some of the structures they come up with!
Then, we put them to the test! Using aluminum trays from the Dollar Store filled with jello we start to shake things up. Each group (about 6 kids per group in my room) get a tray of jello. In pairs, they put their structures on the jello then shake it out for 10-15 seconds. The waiting members of the group are usually all too eager to do the counting for them.