Elementary Science Experiment
Earthquake Waves

This elementary science experiment creates a wave box that demonstrates how earthquake waves can travel through a variety of materials as they travel away from the focus of an earthquake where the rocks first rupture.

All earthquakes produce P waves and S waves. P waves travel through solids, liquids and gases. In this simple science experiment you will see how P waves travel through different solids causing paper clips on a string to vibrate.

Elementary Science Experiment, Earthquake Waves, Photo by Myrna MartinEarthquake wave box


  • Box
  • String
  • Paper clips
  • Nail or ice pick


  1. An adult should supervise the making of the wave box.
  2. Remove one side of a cardboard box.
  3. An adult should punch a hole in the top and bottom of the box using a nail or ice pick.
  4. Tie a string so it runs from the top of the box to the bottom of the box.
  5. Start by tying a string to a paper clip on the outside of the box at the top.
  6. Thread the string through the bottom of the box and tie the string to a paper clip on the bottom of the box.
  7. Place 4 or 5 paper clips on the string inside the box.
  8. Place the box on a table or some other object you can strike to make it vibrate.
  9. Strike the table hard enough to cause energy waves to travel through it to the box.
  10. If you have struck the table hard enough the paper clips will start to vibrate back and forth.
  11. Move your box to other surface and see if you can make the paper clips vibrate on these surfaces.
  12. Change the experiment by using a different thickness of string.
  13. Change the experiment by using different sizes of paper clips.

More Links to Science Activities

Gravity Experiment, Topsy Turvy PlantsHave fun growing tomatoes upside down in this fun experiment.

Elementary Science Experiments, Bird FeedersStudy the feeding habits of wild birds in your back yard or porch area in this interesting experiment.

Science Experiment, Mentos ExperimentHave fun creating a geyser of diet coke in the fun and exciting experiment.

Science Experiments, Great Ice Cube RaceThe great ice cube race tests the time it takes for different shapes of ice cubes to melt.

Water Cycle Experiments, Acid RainLearn what happens when acid rain falls on objects made of calcite in this experiment.

Elementary Science Experiment, Earthquake WavesCreate your own wave box that makes paper clips jump when earthquake waves pass through them.

Earth Science The links on this page include information on the Earth, the Rock Cycle, Volcanoes, experiments, activities and much more.


RC Igneous Rocks
ID Metamorphic Rocks

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

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