CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Earthquake! Are You Prepared?

Social Studies, Business Studies, Science, Geography
1 lesson
To increase students' understanding of earthquakes in Canada
In this introductory activity, students create a list of items they need for an earthquake preparedness kit.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Have students create a dictionary of significant earthquake related terms: earthquake, tsunami, seismograph, fault, primary wave, secondary wave, epicentre, hypocentre, and magnitude. If they wish, they can find the definitions online at the National Resources Canada website, under Earth Sciences in the menu bar. Discuss the definitions as a class and clarify any terms.

Outline the Opportunity

Have the students watch, read, and listen to the clips on the topic Canada's Earthquakes and Tsunamis on the CBC Digital Archives website, paying particular attention to the clips titled "The threat to British Columbia" and "Surviving the big one". Place the students in groups of four and have them create a list of items that they would need for a Family Earthquake Preparedness Kit. For the purpose of this scenario, students will be at home with their families when the megathrust earthquake hits.

Revisit and Reflect

Invite students to share their lists. Use their suggestions to create a master list of items on the board. Compare the class list to the one listed on the website for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. What items did they miss? Ask: Why are those items necessary? What items did they include that weren't on the website? Ask: Why did you think those items were important?


The students can return to the National Resources Canada website to examine and assess the map of the most recent earthquakes in Canada. Ensure students understand the legend before they begin.

Related Content

Canada's Earthquakes and Tsunamis

Beneath our feet, Canada is constantly atremble. Earthquakes shake the country about 2,500 tim...

1964: B.C.'s tsunami disaster

Residents of Port Alberni, B.C., pick up the pieces following 1964's massive tsunami.

1982: Earthquake shakes up East Coast

A powerful earthquake hits a remote area of New Brunswick.

The tsunami risk in Canada

Could we be hit with devastating waves like those that struck south Asia?

Horror and heroism: the Indian Ocean tsunami

Death tolls mount, aid pours in and tales of heroism emerge three days after the Indian Ocean ...

Earthquakes and Tsunamis: Project Neptune

The world's largest undersea laboratory could help hone earthquake predictions.