E-Earthquake (LS-IT-312)

During the school closure due to the COVID19 emergency, teachers were required to change their activity from “in presence” to “remote ” in less than one week. This means that we had to rethink our activity, not just to implement and use remote classrooms applications, but in particular to organize an engaging activity for students on topics included in national curricula. This is most important for students involved in grade with final exams. At the moment we don’t know how this exam will be carried out, and for this reason, it is very important to show to students how to present a work remotely, so they can start to have and idea about this type of presentation, in case we will have an online final exam. For this reason, I designed an activity for 8 grades students (in Italy the last year of lower secondary school, with a final exam at the end of the year) on seismic risk, topic included in Science Curricula.

Context and tools

This is a strongly relevant topic for our region that presents a high level of seismic risk. The activity was designed thanks to a Sway presentation that students can display on their device. I choose this type of presentation because you can “embed” several types of web tools, so students do not have to browse on the internet to search these.

The Sway included interactive board (Padlet), a recorded lesson in YouTube video, live activity on earthquake (station monitor, historic earthquake archive), and a form for formative assessment. You can use this activity and include your own padlet, mentimer and adapt to the seismicity of your country, you just have to open the link and make a copy on your account (in English, in Italian).

The activity

During the activity, students are required to evaluate the energy of an earthquake starting from images included in Europeana Collections. Observing the photo, they have to think about the possible Mercalli grade, and then search for the earthquake magnitude on a historical online archive. I decide to ask students to use photo form 1908 Messina Earthquake, but you can browse on Europeana and search for photos referred to other seismic events.

A padlet to share ideas about the Mercalli grade of an Earthquake, starting from an Image found on Europeana Collections.

Seismicity of the Campania region

The second part of the activity focused on seismicity in our region, Campania (South Italy), and starts with a brainstorming session. Using Mentimeter students have to think about the last destructive earthquake in our region.

I think this is very important because luckily our students did not experience an earthquake in their city, and it is important they know that we have to live with earthquakes and learn how to behave and how to preserve our artistic heritage. This is also an occasion for students to ask parents about their memory about the Irpinia Earthquake, everyone was in Campania that day remember what he was doing and what happened.

World cloud with Mentimeter to brainstorm about the last earthquake in Campania (Italy)

In order to lower seismic risk, students are invited to make a research about regional artistic heritage and to use Europeana images to create a map of heritage at risk. Because seismic risks do not just involve people and industry, but also our past in term of heritage. As an example, they have the Europeana exhibition Heritage at Risks, where they can found information about what happened to  Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi during the 1997 central Italy Earthquake.


This activity was divided into three parts, each one exploring the parameters of seismic risks, students completed the activity in almost one week.

One of the difficulties was to engage students in the activity, I hope that thanks to the material provided, and the discussion in family, they understood the relevance of this topic and think about how to take care of themselves during an earthquake.

Would you like to learn more about this learning scenario? You can download it below:

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The featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana Collections and belongs to the public domain.

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