Determining and Measuring Earth's Layered Interior

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Link to Resource: https://www.iris.edu/hq/inclass/lesson/determining_and_measuring_earths_layered_interior
Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Language:English
Organization:Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS)
Summary:In this lesson, students examine seismic evidence to determine a) Earth must have a layered internal structure and, b) estimate the size of Earth’s core. Using an inquiry approach, students are divided into two teams (theoreticians and seismologists) to test the simplest hypothesis for what is inside of Earth; the Earth is homogeneous throughout. Theoreticians use a scale model of a homogeneous Earth combined with an average seismic wave velocity to make predictions about when seismic waves should arrive at various points around Earth (predicted). Meanwhile, seismologists interpret seismic data from a recent earthquake to determine when seismic waves actually arrive at various points around Earth (observations). After comparing and discussing the fit of the predicted and observed data, students then use a second scale model to further interpret these results and ultimately measure Earth's outer core based on their data.
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 1; Big Idea 4; Big Idea 8
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS1.C; ESS2.A
NGSS Performance Expectations:2-ESS1-1; 4-ESS1-1; 5-ESS2-2; HS-ESS1-5; HS-ESS1-6; HS-ESS2-2; MS-ESS1-4; MS-ESS2-1; MS-ESS2-2
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:Analyzing and interpreting data; Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering); Developing and using models; Engaging in argument from evidence
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:Patterns; Scale, proportion, and quantity; Stability and change; Systems and system models
Subjects: 6-8; 9-12; earth; earthquake; elementary school; high school; k-12; k-3; k-4; k-5; k-5 geosource; k-6; k-8; k-9; middle school; seismology
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