Resources for Teachers

Earthquake ABC: A Child's View of Earthquake Facts and Feelings©

Grades: K- 5
Length: 1 lesson, 30-45 min
Topics: Earthquake, natural forces, preparedness

Earthquake damage


Students in the 2nd and 3rd grades classes who experienced the Northridge earthquake of Jan. 17, 1994 created an alphabet book from their first-hand experience. The children generated lists of words they associated with earthquakes and sorted them into three groups: fact words, feeling words, and preparedness words. Each child selected words to illustrate and define. A Parent’s Guide and Teacher’s Guide give ideas for using the ABC book with students of all ages.

NGSS Alignment


    1. Students will understand terminology specific to earthquake processes.
    2. Students will understand some of the physical and emotional challenges associated with a natural hazard, specifically and earthquake.
    3. Students will know several ways to prepare for a natural hazard in their home.

    Materials Needed:

    Lesson Plan:

    Parent’s Guide – glossary of each term used in the book
    Before You Read

    • Read or paraphrase the portion of the preface that tells why this book was written.
    • Does this book remind you of any projects you've done before?
    • What are some words you think of when you hear the word "earthquake"? (Record student responses.)

    After the First Reading

    • Do you feel any differently about earthquakes after reading this book?
    • What surprised you most?
    • What question would you like to ask the author/artist of (a chosen page) in this book?

    Exploring Further

    • The children who made this book tried to include science, feeling, and preparedness words. In which group would (your chosen word) be? Can you sort other words into these three categories?
    • What do you know about this word that the author didn't say? What else would you write if you were the author of this page?
    • Pick an earthquake science word to research and write about.
    • Make a model of one of the science words. See Baker: Make it Work! Earth for useful ideas on modeling several concepts in this book. Refer also to "Jello" in the glossary.
    • Pick a feeling word to explore through poetry. See Stolz: Storm in the Night for beautiful descriptions of natural forces at work.
    • Make a list of preparedness plans that you learned from these pages to share with your family.
    • Make your own drawing for one of these words. (Indicate a page) Do you agree or disagree? Why? How would you rewrite that entry?
    • If you chose a topic to make an ABC book about, what would it be?