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Integrating PEPP and Science Data into a High school Earth Science classroom


By: Brett Cauble, McCutcheon High School


Summary: This will be a unit that uses various earthquake data and software to help students to examine different earthquake properties and calculations.


Background: For this unit the students will need to have an understanding of plate tectonics, p waves, s waves, surface waves, what and epicenter is, and an idea of what the Richter scale is and how its magnitude is figured.


Materials needed:


        A copy of the Locating an Earthquake lab handout

        Earth quake data from PEPP

        The SWAP software for the computer

        A large map laminated for use of drawing on

        A copy of a chart to figure azimuth, and map with Bloomington as the center

        A globe (optional)

        The Winquake software for the computer

        A copy of activity 7 (Determining Surface Wave Magnitude)

        Access to the internet for doing an activity on the virtual earthquake website


Time: This unit should take anywhere from 3-5 (50 min/class) periods to finish, depending upon the age and ability level of the students. Realistically, it will be closer to 5 class periods rather than 3.


Detailed Description of lesson:


1.      The 1st class period will consist of completing the Locating an Earthquake Lab to get the students familiar with procedures, and and the type of data that can be collected and manipulated using a seismogram.

2.      The 1st part of the second-class period will consist of the students downloading data from the network for a specific earthquake. The data will need to come from 3 stations (1 from IU and 2 others). The students will then copy this data into SWAP so that it can be manipulated.

3.      Once the data is copied into SAWP, the students will figure the difference in arrival times of P and S waves. Then the will use the data from IU to figure the location of the earthquake. Using difference in arrival times of P and S waves from Bloomington and Hamburgerís formula the students will figure azimuth of the event in degrees. They can also figure the direction be looking at the N/S and E/W components.

4.      On the 3rd day the students will go about using the triangulation method to find a more exact location than what they did when they used azimuth. They will use the degree measure from IU and convert it into kilometers using the formula 1 degree=110 km. They will also do the same thing for the other two stations that they picked. Then they can use a map of the world to use the triangulation method and get an exact location of the epicenter.

5.      Time permitting, the 3rd day should also have the students start to figure magnitude. They will take their data from the IU station, and put it into SWAP again. They will then go through the instructions of the Activity 7 (Determining Surface Wave Magnitude). Once they have done the calculations they should go back and check to see how close they were to the real magnitude.

6.      On the 4th or 5th day, the students will be on the internet using the Virtual
Earthquakes site to try and figure the epicenter and magnitude for the quakes that are occurring on this site. It should be king of a fun way for the students to finish up the unit, and continue to be exposed to the triangulation method and finding magnitude of an earthquake.


Earth Science Standards Incorporated:


Earthís Physical Properties


        Given latitude and longitude, locate a feature on a map of the earth and vice-versa.

        Determine the linear distance on any map using the given scale


Plate Tectonics


        Describe the way in which earthquakes are produced using the elastic rebound theory.

        Given a map and P and S wave information, locate the epicenter of an earthquake.

        Explain motions, transformations, and locations of materials in the Earthís lithosphere and interior. For example, describe the movement of the plates that make up the crust of the earth and resulting formation of earthquakes, volcanoes, trenches, and mountains.


This unit also requires students to think critically about material, and to organize and gather data in a meaningful way.




††††††††††† Assessment for this unit will include the studentís ability to find the epicenter of the earthquake that they are using. If they are able to accurately find the epicenter, then it will be evident that the students have been able to manipulate the data and software that is required of them in these exercises. Also, the students will be assessed on how close they are able to come to the actual magnitude of the earthquake when they do the calculations on how to find magnitude. Overall assessment will include a test at the end of the unit which incorporates ideas and procedures learned during the unit.







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