Check out the below lessons, activities, and resources on natural hazards education!
Classroom Lesson Plans
I am a...Volcanologist Career Video and Coloring Page
Background Information for Teachers
Cascade Volcano Resources for Educators
A list of resources that are mostly specific to the Cascades, but could be applied to other volcanic areas.
Eruptions in the Cascade Range During the Past 4,000 Years
Download a pdf file of this 20 inch x 24 inch poster showing a timeline of eruptions in the Cascade Range.
Mount St. Helens Eruption - 30th Anniversary
On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens Volcano exploded violently, causing the worst volcanic disaster in the history of the U.S. Watch a fascinating video in which USGS scientists recount their experiences during the eruption, and see how the eruption has triggered a growth in volcano science and volcano monitoring.
Educational Lectures About Mt. St. Helens and Volcano Monitoring
A series of videos by the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory in collaboration with the Whidbey Reads program that discusses Mount St. Helens' May 18, 1980 eruption, and how the volcano has shaped the study of volcanoes and volcano monitoring.
10 Ways Mount St. Helens Changed Our World
Provides a brief description of Mount St. Helens and lists ways that this volcano has impacted the world. Links to additional resources are also provided.
Volcano Hazard Program Resources for Educators
A great resource for educators on preparedness, safety, and resilience to help people at risk live more safely with volcanoes and recover more quickly after volcanic eruptions.
Volcano Hazards Web Site
The starting point for all USGS volcano science. Interact with a real-time status map of U.S. volcanoes and follow links to a Resource Page for Educators, photos, web cams, volcano lists and information, and simple descriptions of volcano hazards.
Mount St. Helens, 1980 to Now
On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens Volcano exploded violently, causing the worst volcanic disaster in the history of the United States. The right-side menu has links to six downloadable (MP4) video clips about the 1980 eruption, volcano monitoring, and volcanic processes. Download and print a poster:
Alaska Volcanoes Guidebook for Teachers
Over a third of Alaska's 140 volcanoes have been active in the last 300 years. This online publication has chapters covering the tectonic setting, rocks, eruption styles, landforms, community impact, effect on climate, and monitoring of Alaska's volcanoes. Each chapter has 3-4 detailed classroom activities for grades 6-12 and many supplemental materials. Many of these activities can be applied to volcanoes in other locations!
Eruptions of Hawaiian Volcanoes - Past, Present and Future
Written for a general audience and richly illustrated with diagrams and photographs, this report describes the eruptive history of two of Hawai'i's active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa.
What is volcanic ash? How does it affect agriculture, transportation, communications, water supplies, and human health? Learn all this and more at the USGS Volcanic Ash Web site.
Earthquakes and Tsunamis
The key to earthquake safety is to be prepared and know what to expect. Use the many resources at this site to teach students how to react when an earthquake occurs. The Great Shakeout Drills website has classroom materials targeted to specific states.
Learning Page for USGS Earthquake Hazards
The best starting point for education links related to USGS earthquake science. There are separate sections for Educators and Kids, plus animations, photos, FAQs, and earthquake basics. Use the top menu to navigate to earthquake data and a realtime earthquake map.
Earthquake Science Explained: Ten Short Articles for Students, Parents, and Families
A series of short articles for students, teachers, and parents originally published as a weekly newspaper feature. Concepts introduced in each feature are designed to address state and national science education standards. Written by USGS scientists, the articles go beyond traditional textbook information to discuss state-of-the-art thinking and technology that we use today.
The Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami of March 27, 1964
Explore numerous resources created for the 50th anniversary of the second largest earthquake ever recorded and the tsunami that it created. Watch videos, animations, archival film, and a public lecture; read short fact sheets and summaries; and delve into historical photographs. An interactive "story map" of 1964 Anchorage is an especially good way to engage students.
Putting Down Roots In Earthquake Country
Booklets written for the general public to explain everything that residents need to know about earthquakes in their area: Where are the faults and what are the dangers? Why is it important to prepare? How do I prepare for a significant earthquake?
The San Andreas Fault
This general interest publication describes the San Andreas Fault system and its history of earthquakes.
New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-1812
Several of the largest historical earthquakes to strike the continental U.S. occurred in the winter of 1811-1812 along the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which stretches from just west of Memphis, Tennessee into southern Illinois. Download and print the Bicentennial of the 1811-1812 New Madrid Earthquake Sequence poster, and learn more about earthquakes in the central United States with the fact sheet Earthquake Hazard in the Heart of the Homeland.
Tsunamis & Earthquakes
The best starting point for information about tsunamis. Follow links to basic information and an amazing list of animations and simulations.
The Orphan Tsunami of 1700—Japanese Clues to a Parent Earthquake in North America
Follow along with scientists as they discover clues about a mysterious tsunami that struck Japan in 1700. Could it have originated from a large earthquake in North America? Learn how we use the past to help warn of future hazards. Also watch an archived public lecture about this tsunami.
What to Expect in a Big Urban Earthquake
How do we get ready for big earthquakes in populated areas? An important first step is to learn what a big earthquake could be like. These pages summarize the main patterns — the earthquake effects that show up again and again. Here, urban is shorthand for “cities, towns, and suburbs”.
Significant Floods in the United States During the 20th Century - USGS Measures a Century of Floods
During the 20th century, floods were the number-one natural disaster in the United States in terms of the number of lives lost and property damage. This 4-page fact sheet briefly describes the different types of floods and lists the 32 most significant floods during the 20th century.
What is a 100-Year Flood?
The term "100-year flood" is part of the national lexicon, but is often a source of confusion. Download and/or print this free poster that attempts to explain the concept, probabilistic nature, and inherent uncertainties of the "100-year flood" to the layman. Print full-size at 44" x 38" or on 11" x 17" paper.
USGS Landslide Hazards Program - Learning and Education
The best starting point for Landslide information. Quick links to "Landslides 101", photos, glossary, hazards, and preparedness.
Landslide Types and Processes
This four-page fact sheet provides a brief introduction to types of landslides and mass movement associated with gravity and stream floods.
The Landslide Handbook—A Guide to Understanding Landslides
What is a landslide? Where do they occur? What causes them? How are they monitored? How can they be prevented? All these questions are answered in this 129-page publication. Written for a general audience, it is heavily illustrated with diagrams and photographs.