How frequent seismic activity affects societies

How frequent seismic activity affects societies

In this lesson, students gain an understanding of the geological forces that create the Ring of Fire and its effect on distinct cultures.

​Objectives

  • Students will explore plate tectonics.
  • Students will prepare a report that describes how natural disasters have influenced societies.

Lesson procedure

​Introduction

  1. Find a reference article about plate tectonics and the magma they release during separation. Ask the class to read aloud how magma is released as plates move apart.
  2. Brainstorm recent incidents of volcanic activity and earthquakes, and point out that most of these occur along the Ring of Fire. Explain that in this activity the students will each assume the role of an anthropologist and compare how life on the Ring of Fire has influenced two distinct societies.
  3. Teachers: Please download the Student activity handout for details on the main activities for this lesson plan. The Student handout (54 KB Microsoft Office Word file) includes Step 1, "Explore the Ring of Fire," Step 2, "Research societies that inhabit the Ring of Fire," and Step 3, "Compare societal responses."

Teacher Tips

  • Stand your ground

    Have your students list examples of natural phenomena: hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, thunderstorms, mudslides, and floods. Discuss what makes earthquakes different from the rest.

  • Predicting disasters

    Scientists can say where major earthquakes are most likely to occur. They can even make general predictions by detecting where pressure is building along fault lines. But these predictions are made in terms of decades, not months or days.

​Student activity

In this activity, you will create a multimedia report describing what creates the Ring of Fire and comparing how seismic events have influenced the cultures of two distinct societies that live along the Ring of Fire.

Follow the steps below to guide your students through this lesson plan.

Note teachers: Please download the student activity handouts located in the sidebar under Software and Materials Needed, for additional details about the main activities for this lesson plan.
 

Step 1: Explore the Ring of Fire

Software: Microsoft Bing or online encyclopedia.

What to do: Conduct basic research on the Ring of Fire.

Review some of the societies that live along the Ring of Fire. This will be a good starting point for picking the cultures you will research.

Step 2: Research societies that inhabit the Ring of Fire

Software: Microsoft Bing or online encyclopedia.

What to do: Research two different societies that live along the Ring of Fire

  1. Select two distinct societies that live along the Ring of Fire.
  2. Research the effect of seismic events on these societies. Ask the following questions:
    1. What hazards do they face?
    2. How do they cope?
    3. How has the threat of disaster influenced their cultures?
  3. Use Bing or another search engine to research related information.
  4. Hint: Use Microsoft Bing to explore your subject's region.

Step 3: Compare societal responses

Software: Microsoft Bing or other encyclopedia, Microsoft Office Word

What to do: Write a report about the different ways societies respond to living along the Ring of Fire

  1. Gather information from all appropriate articles, sidebars, media features, and Web sources. Compare how these societies have been influenced by the threats posed to them by living along the Ring of Fire.
  2. Optional: Use Microsoft Learning Essentials homework starters to help you organize your information and outline your report. Make sure you include examples of art, architecture, and engineering that demonstrate a societal response to the threat of natural disasters.