Lessons and Activities

The Quake-Catcher Network is designed to be an educational tool for describing earthquakes and earthquake science in the classroom. For this purpose, we include a demonstration program called QCNLive for learning using lesson plans. QCNLive is a free program and can be downloaded from this webpage.


1) What is a seismometer

by Jennifer Saltzman

Students will learn that a seismometer detects 3 components of motion and that a seismogram is the record of an earthquake.
Download PDF: Grades K-5
Download PDF: Grades 6-12


2) Introduction to the Quake-Catcher Network and Lab

by Deborah Kane

This activity reviews the concept of acceleration and then introduces students to a sensor that records acceleration. The lab exercise leads the students through several exploratory questions and suggestions and ultimately asks them to consider what this sensor is used for outside of the classroom. This activity requires advance preparation to order the sensors, as noted in the Description and Teaching Materials (below).
Download for Microsoft Word


3) Magnitude and Intensity Lab

by (Option 1) Deborah Kane and (Option 2) IRIS

This activity describes the differences between an earthquake