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What a Blast!
Mine Blasts to Determine wave propagation speeds in a localized region
A PEPP project developed during the 2001 Summer Workshop at
Indiana University- Bloomington
Submitted by: Mr. Mike Kelley, Evansville Harrison High School
Overview: This is a vertically integrated, multiple school
project incorporating new technologies and Indiana state science standards into
a high-interest plan with multiple avenues for student success. Students from
Harrison High School in Evansville, Indiana will be cooperating with students
from New Harmony High School and Perry Central Jr/Sr High School in an attempt
to determine the speed of seismic waves through the Earths crust in southern
Indiana. New technologies to be introduced to the students include seismometers,
webconferencing, and video production. This project will be undertaken with
emphasis on WOW (Working On the Work) design standards proposed by Philip Schlechty
and the Center for Leadership in Educational Reform.
- Teachers and students
will contact local coal mines to find out the exact time and place of a major
- Teachers and students
will monitor the seismometers at each location to observe the seismic waves
as they pass their particular monitoring station.
- Using Vision Athena technology
or other videoconferencing technology, students will consult with each other
and field experts about the waves on the seismograms.
- Junior High students
will use an algebraic equation to determine the speed of the waves.
- High School physics students
will plot the three sets of data and use the slope of a best-fit line to determine
the speed of the waves.
- Lab reports will be written
and submitted by each team working on the project.
- Evaluation of the written
report will consist of four stages: a.) informal evaluation and feedback by
other student groups, using e-mail; b.) self-evaluation by students, according
to a rubric handed out in advance; c.) Formal evaluation by teacher, according
to the same rubric; and d.) evaluation by editors, referees, etc., when submitted
Indiana State Standards
8th grade science:
- Recognize and describe
that if more than one variable changes at the same time in an experiment,
the outcome of the experiment may not be attributable to any one of the
- Explain why accurate
record keeping, openness, and replication are essential for maintaining
an investigators credibility with other scientists and society.
- Explain that humans
help shape the future by generating knowledge, developing new technologies,
and communicating ideas to others.
- Estimate distances
and travel times from maps and the actual size of objects from scale drawings.
- Determine in what
unit, such as seconds, meters, grams, etc., an answer should be expressed
based on the units of the inputs to the calculation.
- Use proportional
reasoning to solve problems.
- Use technological
devices, such as calculators or computers, to perform calculations.
- Participate in group
discussions on scientific topics by restating or summarizing accurately
what others have said, asking for clarification or elaboration, and expressing
- Use tables, charts,
and graphs in making arguments and claims in, for example, oral and written
presentations about lab or field work.
- Explain why arguments
are invalid if based on very small samples of data, biased sample, or
samples for which there was no control sample.
- Explain that earthquakes
often occur along the boundaries between colliding plates, and molten
rock from below creates pressure that is released by volcanic eruptions,
helping to build up mountains. Understand that under the ocean basins,
molten rock may well up between separating plates to create new ocean
floor. Further understand that volcanic activity along the ocean floor
may form undersea mountains, which can thrust above the oceans surface
to become islands.
- Explain that energy
cannot be created or destroyed but only changed fro one form into another.
- Identify different
forms of energy that occur in nature.
- Illustrate how graphs
can show a variety of possible relationships between two variables.
- Explain how estimates
can be based on data from similar conditions in the past or on the assumption
that all possibilities are known.
- Use technology to
assist in graphing and with simulations that compute and display results
of changing factors in models.
Earth and Space Science
ES.1.23 Explain motions,
transformations, and locations of materials in the Earths lithosphere
and interior. For example, describe the movement of the plates that make up
the Earth and the resulting formation of earthquakes, volcanoes, trenches, and
P.1.4 Employ correct
units in describing physical quantities.
P.1.5 Use appropriate
scalar and vector quantities to solve kinematics and dynamics problems.
P.1.6 Describe and measure
motion in terms of position, time, and the derived quantities of velocity and
P.1.12 Use the law of
conservation of energy to predict the outcome of an energy transformation.
P.1.22 Describe waves
in terms of their fundamental characteristics.
P.1.23 Use the principle
of superposition to describe the interference effects arising from propagation
of several waves through the same medium.
P.1.24 Use the concepts
of reflection, refraction, polarization and transmission to predict the motion
of waves moving through space and matter.
P.1.25 Use the concept
of wave motion to predict conceptually and quantitatively the various properties
of an optical system.
This lesson could be tied
to many other standards as well, including mathematics and language arts.
Additional notes and information:
Student work will be submitted
for publication in various journals, including the PEPP journal, The Science
Teacher, the Physics Teacher, and the HASTI newsletter. This lesson
was designed to fit the ten design standards of the WOW (Working On the Work)
philosophy. Helpful information and additional links and exercises may be found
on the Indiana
University PEPP website.
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