Earthquake Energy

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In this geology activity (page 3 of the PDF), learners simulate an earthquake with little more than an elastic band and drinking straws. Learners see firsthand how an earthquake gets its destructive energy. Although this was created as a pre-visit activity for a workshop about earth processes, it also makes an excellent stand-alone activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 14 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per student)

  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Sewing elastic, 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) wide
  • Marking pen
  • 12 drinking straws
  • Stapler
  • Masking tape


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Earthquakes
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
    • Motion and Forces

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, COSI Columbus, 2009