Balanced information and education are fundamental prerequisites for risk prevention and preparedness. Among others, children embody our best chance to implant appropriate behaviors that will be recalled during hazardous situations and to involve adults according to a knowledge chain reaction. In this work, scientists challenge their communication skills to built a set of hands-on and learn-by-play based laboratory activities, for primary and secondary schools, addressing three major issues: (1) the location of earthquakes and volcanoes on Earth; (2) earthquakes and eruptions mechanisms; (3) earthquakes unpredictability. Students are asked to place volcanoes and earthquakes epicenters (issue 1) on a wooden plate puzzle according to Plate dynamics. To addresses eruption mechanisms (issue 2) and related hazard, we use backing soda forced blowing out from a volcano vent and suggest that a pyroclastic flow is fast, it can spread over a large area and raise high up to the stratosphere. Earthquake mechanisms (issue 2) are discussed describing the energy buildup, release, and transfer, using a wooden sticks bend-and-break analogy. The display of acoustic waves caused by the breakage in different situations allows understanding of both the rupture energy and the wave attenuation. Earthquakes occurrence (issue 3) is addressed using steadily pulled blocks sliding on a frictional surface, where pins simulate asperities. These activities were tested, involving thousands of students. Discussions with students and teachers and the analysis of the answers to specific questionnaires gave us confidence that we proposed proper tools to raise risk awareness.
- Seismic and volcanic hazards