Seismology Teacher Resources
Find Seismology educational ideas and activities
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Plumb the depths of the Submarine Ring of Fire and explore seismic waves with this lesson plan. Junior geologists simulate s-waves and p-waves, calculate their speeds, and then apply the data to discover the material that makes up inner Earth. Detailed directions, student handouts, and internet resources provide everything you need to present a memorable lesson plan on seismology.
Students work together to use a sample seismograph. They role play the position of an engineering firm that is to analyze the machine. They discover how engineers develop new machines to take measurements.
Transform your class into young geologists as they learn about six different branches of geology. Using the included geology career descriptions and picture cards, learners work in small groups deciding which tools and locations fit their assigned geology specialist. They then write short narratives describing their jobs to demonstrate what they have learned. Some of the included tools may be unfamiliar, so be sure to explain their uses prior to small group discussions.
Shake things up in your STEM or earth science classroom when you have small groups construct their own seismographs. A reading assignment on the history of seismographs, the Richter scale, and current technology sets the stage for the engineering design project. A reflection worksheet is also provided for closure. This would be a creative addition to a unit on seismology.
Students research and describe the causes of earthquakes and identify where earthquakes are likely to occur. They view videos, explore interactive software and use Silly Putty and sugar cubes to illustrate the forces at work behind an earthquake.
Learners explore plate tectonics by conducting a class experiment. In this earthquake instructional activity, students utilize scrap wood, sandpaper, rubber bands and a sanding belt to create a model earthquake experiment which shakes a nearby building. Learners record the data from the mock earthquake and discuss the impact of an earthquake on real life buildings.
Students use the Internet to examine earthquakes. They discover the theory of tectonic plates and analyze faults throughout the world. They also examine the science of seismology to explain how earthquakes are measured.
Learners explain the processes of plate tectonics and volcanism that resulted in the formation of the Hawaiian Islands. They describe, compare, and contrast S waves and P waves. They explain how
Students use the Internet to investigate earthquakes and plate tectonics. In this plate tectonics lesson, students complete a web quest with multiple links and activity types relating to earthquakes and volcanoes. They connect the earthquake and volcano activity worldwide with plate boundaries.
Students investigate earthquakes by examining chart data. In this disasters instructional activity, students identify the waves that are recorded when an earthquake arises by reading sample graphs in class. Students participate in an earthquake experiment in which they jog around the playground recording their impact.
Students complete a worksheet that guides them through an overview of Japanese geography. Students research the topography, climate, population and size of Japan and consider how these factors work together to produce Japanese culture.
Eighth graders demonstrate the mathematical components of a scientific problem as well as illustrate how real world problems can be solved using math. They demonstrate math skills such as rate calculation, graphing, and linear equations.
Students examine three seismograms of a recent South American earthquake recorded by USGS stations. They measure the S-P distance and use a P and S wave travel-time graph to find the epicenter distance for each seismogram. In addition, they use distance to find the epicenter of the earthquake.
Students investigate the Richter scale and seismology in a teacher-led lab in which they are introduced to the concept of seismic waves and epicenter location. They further investigate the inner workings of a seismograph and practice using the circular intercept technique to find the epicenter of an earthquake.
Students relate earthquakes from around the world and from Canada to places of high population density. They explore mapping tools using ArcView GIS, play the "Earthquake Guessing Game," and conduct Internet research on types of faults.
Students develop Modified Mercalli Intensity values for a written description of an earthquake. They map MMi values and defend their decisions where to place them on a large-scale zip code map. They define how measures of magnitude and intensity are applied to earthquakes.
In this earthquake worksheet, students read and study earthquake maps and statistics. They complete 8 short answer questions that follow.
Learning about the earth should be a moving experience, and what better way to record that movement than with a seismograph? Each team will work together to design and build a seismometer, then compete against the other teams to see which one works best. Note: the original lesson plan, which is attached below in the Additional Materials section, provides learners with several background knowledge readings, which add a lot to the lesson. You may wish to include these readings before starting the lesson.
Here is a comprehensive package in which middle schoolers learn about types of seismic waves, triangulation, and tectonic plate boundaries. Complete vocabulary, colorful maps, and a worksheet are included via links on the webpage. You will need to have some Slinky® spring toys on hand to demonstrate P and S waves, and a way to project the accompanying maps. A whole-class activity involves learners lining up with shoulders touching, and having them act out the wave movements.
Though several of the images are blurry, this slide show on plate tectonics is terrific! Simply take a little time to replace blurry diagrams with higher quality variations, and you are set to rock your earth science class!