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Part One: Simulating an Earthquake > "S minus P"


Part One: Simulating an earthquake with students acting as P waves (runners) and S waves (walkers). Part one gives students an idea of how activity will unfold.

Outdoors, the presenter/teacher will mark off a square that is 30 meters by 30 meters and where students may run and walk without obstacles, from the center outward to the perimeter of the square.  Mark the four corners of the square with flags. You may use a using a meter wheel or a pre-cut length of rope that is 30 meters long to measure a 30-meter distance.

Select students who will act as P (runners) and S (walkers) and run out to the boundaries of the square field during a simulated earthquake.

Choose a point within the area of the 30m x 30 m square field to serve as the "epicenter" of a simulated earthquake.

Designate a student to stand on the epicenter. The students acting as P and S waves should huddle around the “student epicenter”. Simulate an earthquake by having the “student epicenter” jump up and shout: “Earthquake!”  The P-wave students should run and the S-wave students should walk outward away from the “Epicenter” toward the perimeter of the square field.