For teachers based in Aotearoa
Facilitated Workshops & Related Resources
We've developed standalone workshops and entire unit plans to help teachers plan and deliver lessons about earthquakes and tsunamis. We are happy to discuss if we can come facilitate these workshops in-person or virtually, if you'd like to chat about the content before delivering them yourself, or just let you run with them!
Before you dive in, we do want to note that hazard science is a team effort, and we aren't all scientists! In fact, earthquakes and tsunamis can be treated as a theme across a variety of subjects including science, maths, and geography to name a few. All of our resources have been developed to be used in the New Zealand Curriculum. If you are unfamiliar with the New Zealand Curriculum, you can learn more about it here (link).
If you have any questions, comments, or want to tell us how it went, please reach out.
Educational outreach workshops
Introduction to Plate Tectonics
In this hour-long workshop, the RCET outreach team introduces students to plate tectonics, the underlying theory that governs the geomorphology we see on Earth’s surface. Students are presented with the idea of models and introduced to several physical models to help them visualise the topics being discussed. The workshop assumes no prior earth science knowledge although will reference recent geohazard events in New Zealand and assumes basic geography. Newspaper articles that could be provided as pre-reading if students may not be familiar with events are provided. All materials except printing are provided; this workshop is offered at no cost to the school.
What is an earthquake?
In this hour-long workshop, the RCET outreach team introduces students to earthquakes, a common process in Aotearoa. Students will make connections between plate boundaries and more local structures, faults. This workshops also provides explanations why earthquakes' sizes vary and introduces multiple ways to visualise the geosphere. A small investigation is included in this workshop. The workshop assumes basic background knowledge of plate tectonics and friction. All materials except printing are provided; this workshop is offered at no cost to the school.
What is a tsunami?
In this hour-long workshop, the RCET outreach team introduces students to tsunamis, a hazard many people in Aotearoa are exposed to. Students will make connections between earthquakes and tsunamis. We explain why there are many earthquakes, but many of them to not result in tsunamis. We also include emergency management lessons to ensure students know the natural signs of a tsunami to stay safe. The workshop assumes basic background knowledge of plate tectonics and earthquakes. All materials except printing are provided; this workshop is offered at no cost to the school.
Waves as Energy Transfer
This hour and a half workshop (ideal for an end of the day teaching block!) starts with a beach observation exercise. After sharing their observations, the difference between observations and interpretations is discussed. This allows us to classify comments as observations and interpretations. After, this workshop moves into discussion how far waves make it up a beach and how we know. If students are quite familiar with beaches, they will be asked about if waves make it farther up the beach during a standard tide, a storm, or a tsunami. At this point, we will link science and maths together by drawing waves on a graph and introducing vocabulary (e.g., crest, wavelength, period, amplitude) used to describe the graphs drawn. This workshop ends by linking our new found knowledge to tsunami and why they are so destructive. This workshop has been offered for students learning at New Zealand Curriculum Level 4 although could be adjusted for higher Curriculum Levels. All required materials are brought by R-CET.
This hour and a half workshop has been designed for schools that have a Rū seismometer. It connects vertical ground movement to the data collected by a seismometer, explaining the instrument that has been installed in your school. It then considers earthquake impacts and cascading hazards. We touch on physical mitigation strategies such as base isolation and person emergency management planning. This has been offered at a New Zealand Curriculum Level 4 previously although would also work well in more advanced classes.
If you do not have a Rū seismometer but are interested in installing one in your school, please reach out! If you do not have a Rū seismometer and are not sure about installing one, we would be happy to have a chat about if we can provide a seismometer for this workshop or if this workshop can be tweaked for your school's context.