How Do You Make an Earthquake Model?

Make structures out of toothpicks and marshmallows and place them on a pan of gelatin to make an earthquake model. This is an excellent visual representation of how Earth's movement can affect buildings.

This is an easy project for young children to understand earthquakes. The only supplies needed are an earthquake journal, gelatin, an 8 1/2 by 11-inch pan, toothpicks and mini marshmallows.

  1. Make the gelatin
  2. Any flavor or color of gelatin works for this project. Mix the gelatin according to package directions and pour into the pan. It is best to prepare it the night before the experiment. This ensure the gelatin has plenty of time to become set fully before the structures are in place.
  3. Make the structures
  4. Create structures of various shapes and sizes out of the toothpicks and mini marshmallows. Make some just one level high and others of varying heights. Try a base with a triangle shape, diamond shape or square shape. The more structure designs used, the greater the data that can be collected. Place the structures on the pan of gelatin.
  5. Create the earthquake and observe the reactions
  6. With the earthquake journal close by, begin by gently shaking the pan of gelatin. Observe how the structures react to the movement of the gelatin, which replicates the movement of the earth during an earthquake. Record the observations, and continue the experiment by shaking the pan more forcefully and also recording those observations.