To make an earthquake model for kids, construct building frames out of toothpicks and marshmallows, set them on a tray of Jell-O and shake the tray. Observe how the different frames withstand different levels of disturbance from the Jell-O's movement.
Gather the supplies before starting the project. The necessary components include Jell-O, a tray with sides, toothpicks, marshmallows and a journal to write down observations.
Step 1: Make the Jell-O base
Prepare the Jell-O according to package directions and pour into a pan. Pans that are 8 1/2 inches square work well for small groups of four children.
Step 2: Make the structures
While the Jell-O sets, make the toothpick and marshmallow structures. Use marshmallows to join the toothpicks together. Make structures with large bases and some with small. Vary the size and level of the structures. Consider different shapes such as triangles, squares and rectangles.
Step 3: Test the structures
Place the structures on the Jell-O base. Shake the pan and observe how the movement of the Jell-O, which mimics the movement of the earth during an earthquake, effects the structures. Shake the pan gently, then see what happens as it is moved in a more forceful manner. Write down the observations in a journal.