Table of Contents Using Real-Time Data Lesson Plans Implementation Assistance

Enrichment Lesson 2: Eyewitness Accounts

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Students will read first person accounts of earthquakes from 1886 to the present day.  They will look for ways in which the earthquakes affected the individuals as well as their communities.

Students will:
  • Read first person accounts for information.
  • Understand and describe how earthquakes affect people's lives.

One 45 minute class period. Students may complete their journal entries as a homework assignment.


Teacher Preparation
  • Familiarize yourself with the links in the Student Activity.

  1. Direct students to Enrichment Activity #2 Eyewitness Accounts in the Student Activities section of this web site.
  2. After students have completed the activity, you may give them time to share their writing in small groups.

Assessment Suggestions

  • The answers in the students' project journals / notebooks OR worksheets can be used for assessment.

Student Activity

 Eyewitness Accounts


Your teacher will tell you to record your answers in your 'Musical Plates' journal/notebook OR on the student worksheet.
  1. Read at least 4 or 5 of the personal accounts written by individuals who experienced an earthquake. Most of the eyewitness reports below were written many years ago, but some were recorded as recently as 1999.  Select accounts from both long ago and from the last twenty years.
  2. Use examples from the eyewitness accounts above to answer the following questions in your project journal / notebook OR in the space below.
    1. How did the earthquakes affect the personal lives of people you read about?
    2. How did earthquakes affect their communities as a whole?
    3. Were there differences in the reactions of the writers from different time periods? What were they?


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Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) All Rights Reserved.