Kids Science Activities
Tin Can Seismograph

In these kids science activities you will be creating a seismograph using a tin can. The seismograph will record the waves traveling though a table or some other solid object.

Scientists used earthquake waves to discover the boundary between the crust and the mantle. They also used earthquake waves to discover the inner and outer cores of the Earth. After a major earthquake seismologists use at least three reporting stations to determine the epicenter of an earthquake.

Kids Science Activities, Tin Can Seismograph Photo Myrna MartinTin Can Seismograph

Materials

  • Large tin can
  • Sand
  • Rope
  • Tape
  • Pencil
  • White paper
  • Table

Directions

  1. Have an adult punch two holes in the tin can with a nail or can opener.
  2. Cut a piece of rope long enough to suspend the can from a ceiling so it will reach almost to the table top.
  3. If you cannot suspend the tin can from the ceiling make the rope long enough for someone to hold while doing this activity.
  4. Tape a pencil to the side of the tin can so it can record the vibrations during your "earthquake."
  5. Place a sheet of paper on the table.
  6. One person holds the tin can so the pencil tip just touches the table.
  7. One person moves the table back and forth or hits it gently with a solid object to simulate an earthquake.
  8. The third person pulls the paper as the pencil traces the table movement.
  9. Repeat the experiment with every person getting to hold the tin can, make the table move and pull the paper.

More Links to Science Activities

  • Science Activities Learn more about the many wonderful science activities that are offered in this section of our website.
  • Ocean Activity Creating an ocean in a bottle is easy and fun to do. Then watch the action in the bottle for a fascinating and simple science activity.
  • Solar System Activities The Earth and Moon travel in space around the Sun. These easy science activities demonstrate how the Moon travels around the Earth.
  • Simple Science Activities A fun science activity that you get to eat! Create an Earth Cookie that demonstrates the major parts of the Earth.
  • Fun Science Activities Create your own sedimentary critter rocks using seashells you have collected or bought.
  • Elementary Science Activities Learn about the layers of the atmosphere in this earth science activity.
  • Kids Science Activities Learn how to create a seismograph out of a tin can and then cause mini earthquakes waves to be recorded by your seismograph.
  • Earth Science Learn about planet Earth, Rock Cycle, Volcanoes and many more topics on this website.

RING OF FIRE SCIENCE BOOKSTORE

Check out Myrna Martin's award winning textbooks, e-books, videos and rock sets.  The Ring of Fire Science Bookstore covers a wide range of earth science topics.  Click here to browse.