Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: Earthquakes


“The earth beneath our feet usually feels solid and firm. Yet a million times each year-an average of once every thirty seconds-somewhere around the world the ground shakes and sways. We call this an earthquake.”

Earthquakes written by Seymour Simon is a great nonfiction book for children. The pictures alone can make a statement. They are so powerful, that even younger children could look at this book and realize how serious Earthquakes really are. The book starts by explaining what an earthquake is, and how and why they occur. There are picture graphs throughout the book to help children get a better view on where earthquake zones are, where plates in the earth’s crust are, and also where earthquakes have already occurred. Seymour Simon also explains how scientists predict earthquakes, and how much damage they can inflict. I think this book is perfect for young readers, because the pictures will draw them into the book and interest them. Like I said, the pictures are very powerful, and any child flipping through this book will want to know how the damaged in the pictures happened.

Curriculum Connections

Earthquakes by Seymour Simon is a perfect book when introducing severe weather conditions to your class. (VA SOL ES 13.c) The book can be used as a read aloud, picture walk, or just in your classroom library. The pictures alone are extremely powerful, and the children will want to read about what happened. There is plenty of information in this book to get a basic understanding on how, why, and where earthquakes happen. It also allows children to see how scientists predict earthquakes. (VA SOL ES 13.b) I think this book is so powerful that it might influence children to want to make a difference, or maybe see themselves as scientists in the future.

Additional Resources

Become a geophysicist…a geo What? Here children get the chance to see what needs to be done to become a earthquake scientist. There is information on what you need to do in high school, college, where you would go for graduate school, and the types of jobs you would have. This is a far stretch for younger children, but it allows them to see how they can make a difference, and also allows them to see themselves as a scientist.

Latest Quakes This website allows you to see where the latest earthquakes took place, and how powerful they were. There is a link that says, “Past 8-30 days of earthquakes” so the children can go to this site and see how frequent earthquakes really are.

Earthquake Photo Collection Nothing is more effective than a picture. The children get a chance to really see how powerful earthquakes really are by looking through this website. This website could also be a resource for the teacher, to print off pictures to use in his/her lesson plans.

Book: Earthquakes
Author: Seymour Simon
Publisher: Collins
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 32
Grade Range: K-5
ISBN: 0-06-087715-4

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