Earthquake on the Playground

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Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
7 8 9 10 11 12
Organization:American Geosciences Institute (AGI); Earth Science Week (ESW); Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS)
Summary:Push away from those paper seismograms and get outside to make your own earthquake waves! You're going to learn about earthquake location kinesthetically. In the activity below, you will model how earthquake waves travel through the Earth at different speeds. You also will construct and utilize a graph to characterize the relationship between distance and time of travel of seismic waves (a travel-time curve). Finally, you'll use the constructed travel-time curves to locate the epicenter of a simulated earthquake by triangulation. While seismologists conduct much of their research indoors at a computer terminal, going outside to collect data is a vital aspect of their work, as in the activity below. Seismologists travel to some of the most remote places on Earth to install seismographs far away from the vibrations of human civilization. Here they can record the high-quality data necessary for them to conduct their research, including locating earthquakes.
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 8
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS3.B
NGSS Performance Expectations:HS-ESS3-1; HS-PS4-1; MS-ESS3-2
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:Analyzing and interpreting data; Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering); Using mathematics and computational thinking
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation; Patterns
Subjects: earth science week; earthquake; geology; seismology
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