How could you survive a landslide?
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Discuss:

Why do you think all of the rocks come down at once?

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Discuss:

Imagine you were trying to decide when and where to go camping in a hilly area.

What would you look for to decide whether it's a safe place to camp?

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slide city image

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Slide City Design Show & Tell

After everyone finishes a design, your teacher will choose a few students to present their ideas. After each idea is presented, discuss:

1) What is one thing you really like about this idea?

2) Can you think of one thing that would improve this idea?

When you're done, check out these real world examples of how scientists stop landslides.

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Optional Extras

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & Exploration you just completed.
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Activity extension: Landslide stoppers!

Engineers have come up with many ways to protect homes and stop landslides. Here are a few of our favorites.

You can change the slope of the hillside with walls and terraces or make barriers designed to catch falling rocks.

To protect a road or house, you can build a rock shed like this one or design a radically different house like this one that’s shaped like a soccer ball.

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Image & Video Credits

Mystery Science respects the intellectual property rights of the owners of visual assets. We make every effort to use images and videos under appropriate licenses from the owner or by reaching out to the owner to get explicit permission. If you are the owner of a visual and believe we are using it without permission, please contact us—we will reply promptly and make things right.

Exploration
earthquake fissure by Gerry Thomasen , used under CC BY
flooding by U.S. Geological Survey
tornado by Justin Hobson , used under CC BY-SA
wildfire by John McColgan
falling rock by ArtBrom , used under CC BY-SA
LA skyline by Nserrano , used under CC BY-SA
lightning storm by Mary Qin , used under CC BY
thunder storm by Sarah Coyne , used under CC BY
Devore debris flow event by Mr. Davis (via USGS) , used under CC BY
landslide by Liz Roll
lightening storm by Dana Le
Taiwan boulder collapse by Lai Hong-wei (via Greg Draven) , used under CC BY
Hurricane Ridge by Ken Lund , used under CC BY-SA
rocky slope by LHOON , used under CC BY-SA
Bow Lake by Florian Fuchs , used under CC BY
Ofen Pass by mstefano80 , used under CC BY-SA
Landslide in Japan by Monty Mon , used under CC BY
landslide in Washington state by USGS
tent at High Shelf Camp by JJ Harrison , used under CC BY-SA
Activity
house by David Sawyer , used under CC BY-SA
landslide in Conchita by USGS
land management by Bureau of Land Management , used under CC BY
Post-it notes by Alan Stanton , used under CC BY-SA
note pad by Paul Williams , used under CC BY
Overview
Grade 4th
Topic Rock Cycle & Earth's Processes
Focus Erosion, Natural Hazards, & Engineering
Print
Activity Prep

In this Mystery, students will learn about the types, causes, and dangers of landslides. In the activity, Slide City, students are faced with the engineering problems of protecting a house from a landslide and preventing a landslide from happening. They use a brainstorming technique to design creative solutions.

Preview activity

Number of students:
Post-Its (3")
300 post-its
Saving My Slide-City Home printout Print 30 copies
Prep Instructions

You will need a large wall or board space where you can put up student Post-it notes.

Watch a 1-minute Video

To prepare for this brainstorming activity, we suggest teachers watch this short video demonstration of brainstorming.

Overview
Grade 4th
Topic Rock Cycle & Earth's Processes
Focus Erosion, Natural Hazards, & Engineering
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