CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Earthquakes Throughout the World

Geography, Science
2 lessons
To examine the physical and human elements of earthquakes, locally and abroad
Using a variety of Web-based resources, students research and create fact sheets about five significant global earthquakes, compiling their fact sheets to create a report.

Lesson Plan


Earthquakes are still seen as an anomaly in Canada as they generally happen in unpopulated regions of the nation. Canadians are generous with their foreign aid when earthquakes occur in populated regions of the world. Comparing Canada to other locations in the world, how does Canada fare in the number of earthquakes annually? Students will research both Canadian and world earthquakes.

The Task

Students will examine the map of earthquakes in Canada during the 20th century at the Natural Resources Canada website. Students will research five significant global earthquakes in 20th and 21st centuries and complete a fact sheet for each one. The fact sheet will include the location of the earthquake, why it happened (the physical explanation), the damage that was caused to the landscape, the effects on the humans in the surrounding area, and the help that was sent in afterwards to help clean up.

The Process

Students will work individually and begin with the examination of the map. They can begin the rest of their research at the topic Canada's Earthquakes and Tsunamis on the CBC Digital Archives website. Students may select any five significant earthquakes, not necessarily the five largest. Remind students to cite all sources consulted and used. Have students collate their fact sheets in chronological order to create a report.


Invite students to share their reports. Consider oral presentations or a display around the classroom of the various fact sheets. Hold a class discussion about the nature of earthquakes throughout the world versus the nature of earthquakes in Canada. Encourage them to discuss similarities and differences both physically and in the impact on humans that ensues.

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