- Science Process Skills
- observing and comparing
- miniature marshmallows- l package
- round toothpicks- 2 or 3 boxes
- modeling clay- 3/4 lb. per group
- firm Jell-O (see recipe below)
- rectangular pan for Jell-O (approximately
- 8" plates- 2 per group
- large table
2 pkgs unflavored gelatin (Knox Gelatin)
1 6oz. pkg Jell-O
2 1/2 cups water
Dissolve unflavored gelatin in 1 1/2 cups of water.
Boil 1 cup water and add Jell-O.
Stir until dissolved.
Add gelatin mixture- Stir.
Pour into greased rectangular pan.
Refrigerate until solid (about 2 hours).
- Doing the Activity
- Make a slab of clay approximately 4" x 4" x
- Place it in the center of plate #1.
- Cut a slab of Jell-O about 4" x 4" x 1".
- Place it in the center of plate #2.
- Using toothpicks and marshmallows, build two
identical one story towers.
- Press one tower down firmly into the clay on plate
- Press the other tower down firmly into the Jell-O
on plate #2.
- Add a second and third story to the tower on each
- Gently shake the table to simulate an
- Observe the reaction of each structure to the
- Describe how your structures reacted on the
different ground conditions. (The Jell-O and the
- What do you think would happen to your structures
if you made them taller? How does this activity relate
to real life earthquakes like the 1989 Loma Prieta
- Redesign your structures so that they can withstand
the shaking better.
- What's Happening
- Ground conditions can have considerable effect on the
intensity with which an earthquake is felt. Wet soils
like beaches, marshes, and reclaimed landfill sites tend
to shake the most, while solid bedrock shakes the
- More Challenges
- Make a poster about earthquake preparedness ideas
to share with others.
- Write an earthquake preparedness article for your
- Discuss possible natural disaster scenarios at
home with your family. Ask your family if they have
developed plans for an earthquake or other natural
disaster situation. If your family has not developed
any plans yet, now is a good time to begin. Write down
any plans you develop.
- Activity Source
- Ponzio, Richard. (1991) "4-H SERIES- Beyond Duck and
Cover." Cooperative Extension, 4-H Center, University of
California, Davis, CA 95616.