Lively Lessons: Nepal Earthquake

The recent earthquakes in Nepal have sparked countless conversations across the world. Strong earthquakes have the power to destroy a city’s infrastructure and, even more importantly, put entire populations at risk.


Introduce the concept of earthquakes by showing the video segments Earthquake and Nepal: Help Needed to the class. In order to help students understand how powerful the earthquake was in Nepal, give students time to experiment with the Richter scale by using the Science Lab: Earthquakes Skill Builder. At the top of the Skill Builder, click “On Shaky Ground” to access the Earthquake Testing Zone. Have students test three different amounts of magnitude and record their observations.

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Then, discuss the results as a class. What changed as the magnitude grew larger? What was the magnitude of the earthquake in Nepal? What type of earthquake damage occurred in the city of Kathmandu, Nepal?

Then, revisit the Nepal: Help Needed segment using the Spotlight on Strategies: Step Inside approach. Display the following questions on the board to provide context for students to keep in mind while viewing the segment:

  • What do you see, observe, or notice about the state of Nepal after the earthquake?
  • What might someone in the video know, understand, or believe?
  • What might people in Nepal care deeply about in the wake of the natural disaster?
  • What might the Nepalese people wonder about or question before, during, or after the earthquake?

Play the video segment. Do not have students take notes during the clip. After the segment has been viewed, provide students five minutes to think about and write down answers to two or three of the questions outlined above. Finally, facilitate a group discussion about the questions. Note: You may wish to add a small group discussion and match students with similar and/or different perspectives to determine similarities and differences.

To extend the lesson, challenge students to research and create an earthquake response plan using Discovery Education’s Board Builder tool.

Looking for more earthquake resources? Check out the titles listed below.
Nepal: Another Earthquake Strikes
The PBS NewsHour: Why Didn’t Nepal Prepare for an Inevitable Earthquake?
Nepal: Major Earthquake
Stuff You Should Know Podcast: How Earthquakes Work

What methods do you use to help your students learn about the impact of natural disasters? Feel free to share your ideas below!

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