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Ground Shakers

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A 2D Flash based module that runs in a web browser, if module doesn’t run download the latest version of the flash player from Adobe

Software Agreement

Grade and Content Area: 8th Grade – Earth and Space Sciences


You are an engineer given the task of building homes around the country. You can earn money by selling the homes, however they must be able to withstand earthquakes over time. If the houses are undamaged after the earthquake has occurred, money will be deposited into your bank account. More money will be earned for each undamaged house if it is placed on flat clear land away from mountains or forests. However sometimes this land is near a fault line, which is likely to cause damage to the houses. Choose house locations carefully using the actual geological data (provided from the United States Geological Survey) given for each region. Play though 6 different levels (Hawaii, Washington, Ohio, California, Missouri, and Alaska) in an attempt to earn as much money as possible.

Lesson Plan

Description of the Science Content of the Module: Topics covered include fault lines, plate boundaries, earthquakes and their causes, and regions of Earthquake activity in the United States.

When it is most appropriate to use the Module: This game is designed to be played during the teaching of plate tectonics to reinforce concepts

Game Play: Drag houses from your inventory onto the map for each level. Keep in mind the layout of the terrain along with the location of the fault line. Often the most valuable land will be near a fault line, however this also makes it the most dangerous land.

Play through 6 levels to complete the game. A ranking will be provided based on the amount of money earned.

Pre-test and Post Test Questions(doc)
Pre-test and Post Test Questions(pdf)

Ohio Content Standards: Grade 8 – Earth and Space Sciences – Benckmark E

  • Indicator 9 – Describe the interior structure of Earth and Earth’s crust as divided into tectonic plates riding on top of the slow moving currents of magma in the mantle.

  • Indicator 10 – Explain that most major geological events (e.g., earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hot spots and mountain building) result from plate motion.

Comments from STEAM Teachers: “Ground Shakers was a fun way for the students to learn about earthquakes.  They were able to view different regions of the earth that experience earthquakes and see the destruction earthquakes can cause to structures.  The competitive edge of the game made the kids want to play it more.”

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0538588. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.