Solving problems in a fictional earthquake zone

Learning outcome

To develop positive relationships through working cooperatively.

Key Stubbington focus

Communication - teamwork

  • For Key Stage 2
  • Duration 2.5 hours
Success criteria
  • I can encourage and support team members
  • I can resolve differences by looking at alternatives
  • I make decisions with my team
  • I understand that my actions might affect myself and my team members
Session plan

Introduction: Setting the Scene

Explain to the children that there has been a shocking earthquake in Stubbington Village.

They are to be the rescue mission. As they enter the headquarters, organise the children into three or four groups of 6, 7 or 8 rescuers.


Can the children name any recent earthquakes? Refer to display for an example. Explain that earthquakes are measured using the Richter scale and point out how we might recognise the strength of an earthquake using Stubbington examples.


A good rescue mission requires strong teamwork skills – have children completed any team work activities during their stay? Can they recall anything they have learnt about what makes a good team?

Good communication - Sharing ideas and planning before tackling each obstacle. Reminding each other of the instructions at each obstacle.

Listening to everyone’s ideas.

Encouragement - some of the things they might face in the earthquake zone will be challenging. Children can help team mates by giving praise and support to each other when necessary.

Cooperation - how can they make sure all the team are included? Can they suggest any methods for resolving problems or making a fair decision?

Let the children know that teacher’s will be looking for examples of good teamwork (a certificate is available for an individual who demonstrates this).


Ask them to suggest what equipment they would need to take with them on a rescue mission.

Hopefully, they will suggest most of the following: food and drink, first aid supplies, rope, blankets, ladder, stretcher, torch, rescue dogs, mobile phone.

Give each group their rescue equipment. Stress that the equipment is precious and must be handled with great care. Emphasise the special need for safety awareness when carrying the ladder - two people must carry the ladder at all times.

Lead the children with their equipment to the earthquake zone. Place the equipment safely to one side.


Walking the course

Walk the whole group around the course, pointing out rules, potential safety problems, possible tips etc. at each section. See separate list of obstacles and safety equipment.

A few volunteers can demonstrate specific points on a few of the obstacles if time allows.


Ask the group to collect their equipment and take it to their start position, eg obstacles 1, 7, 11, 13.

Explain that each team will have a sheet on which to record a grade for their teamwork for each obstacle (see separate sheet). When they get to each obstacle, they must plan together how they intend to complete it, using the reference sheet to remind them of the instructions.

No team member can move to the next obstacle before the whole team is ready.

Remind them again of the rules and of the need for safety awareness, particularly with the ladder.

Stress that it is not a race.

The teacher will need to be able to view all the children – probably best achieved from the top of the mound.

Make sure that you have your whistle and a copy of the rules. Please ensure an adult supervises (standing next to) obstacles 8, 14, 16.


Get children together to discuss how they graded themselves. Can groups give an example of where they awarded themselves a grade A and why? Remind them of key teamwork vocabulary introduced at the beginning of the session.

Did any groups give themselves a C for an obstacle? What could they have done to improve their teamwork?

Other possible discussion points:

  • Did children enjoy being part of their team? Why?
  • Ask for examples of how teams resolved a problem e.g. when they tried their idea and it didn’t work?

Less able children

Vary number and types of resources depending on age and ability.

More able children

Vary number and types of resources depending on age and ability.

Previsit activities

  • Shelters and Chaingangs - Stubbington activities with a focus of team work skills
  • Research earthquakes – how do they happen?
  • Think about the rescue teams – what will they need?
  • Design a kit for a rescuer

Follow up activities

  • Identify key skills to take back to classroom
  • Design a poster to show the key skills needed


Working as a team, you must take the equipment safely around the course to the Earthquake zone, obeying the instructions below. All equipment must be passed, never thrown. If you step off the course at any time (other than onto a path) or drop any equipment, then you must return to the start of that obstacle. The ladder must be carried across all obstacles, except number 10 where it may be used to bridge the gap.

As you finish each of the 16 tasks, discuss amongst yourselves how you got on. Put 'A', 'B' or 'C' in the box

  • A = you think you did really well
  • B = you think you could have done better
  • C = you were hopeless!

1. Bad Beams

There is boiling lava underneath, so don’t step off!

2. The Crawl

  • Watch your heads!
  • You must crawl under the net, and the equipment manoeuvred over the net

3. See saw

  • Beware of both ends of the see-saw as they shoot up quickly
  • Watch your toes!

4. By-Pass

  • No equipment may pass along the chain bridge, but of course you can
  • Find an alternative for the equipment

5. Up the Rock Face

  • Special care needed when getting down the other side!
  • Place the equipment somewhere suitable

6. Under and Over

  • The team must pass over the lowest bar, and the equipment must pass below the highest
  • You must not touch the ground

7. Chain Bridge

Teamwork will be the key to your success.

8. Through the Window

  • You and the equipment must go through the window
  • An adult must supervise this one

9. Sewer Scramble or Mountain Abseil

  • At least 3 team members and 4 pieces of equipment must scramble through the sewer
  • The rest of the team uses the ropes to abseil, backwards, down the mountain, holding the rope with both hands

10. Bridging the Gap

Bridge the gap using a piece of your equipment.

11. Shock and Shake

The overhead cables are live - you must not touch them or you will be electrocuted.

12. Over the Rooftops

You must go over the lowest bar, and the equipment under the highest bar.

13. Swing Bridge

Be careful - it wobbles!

14. The Scramble

  • You must go over the top feed first
  • Be careful where you stack the equipment
  • An adult must supervise this one

15. Mountain Climb

Keeping to the path, climb over the stile; go through the kissing gate and down the other side, carefully.

16. Lava Leap

  • You must swing over the molten lava, but the equipment should be passed along the edge
  • Once over, you may not return!
  • When catching, stand to the side and scoop the swinger
  • An adult must supervise this one
Health and safety checks
  • This session is always introduced by a Stubbington member of staff
  • See separate sheet for each obstacle’s instructions and safety points
  • Please ensure an adult supervises (standing next to) obstacles 8, 14, 16
  • When a whistle sounds, all children must dismount equipment immediately