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Teaching Activities


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Role playing the 2009 L'Aquila Earthquake and trial to debate responsibility for communicating and understanding risks and natural hazards
Amber Kumpf, Muskegon Community College
In this activity, students reenact key events leading up to and following the 2009 L'Aquila Earthquake and trial. This leads into a debate on responsibility for communicating and understanding risks and natural hazards.

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What is Magnitude? Earthquake Magnitude By Analogy
Scott White, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Understanding magnitude scales by analogy to distance. Students use distance as a proxy for understanding how the logarithmic earthquake magnitude scale works. Very simple class or lab exercise for introductory ...

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Whose Fault Is It Anyway?
Eric Muller
This game has students simulate the propagation of P and S waves after an earthquake and to use the lag between these to determine where in the simulation the earthquake occurred. -

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2004 Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster Project
Char Bezanson, Eastview High School, Apple Valley, Minnesota
Students are employees of a unit of the United Nations responsible for coordinating disaster relief after a major disaster (the 2004 Asian Earthquake and Tsunami) occurs. The agency needs to understand the ...

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The Boxing Day Tsunami
Glenn Richard, SUNY at Stony Brook
Undergraduate students map data from the National Geophysical Data Center and the United States Geological Survey on Google Earth and study visualizations in order to explore the causes and effects of the Tsunami ...

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Global Earthquakes: Teaching about Earthquakes with Data and 3D Visualizations
Cara Harwood, University of California-Davis
In this series of visualizations and accompanying activities, students visualize the distribution and magnitude of earthquakes and explore their distribution at plate boundaries. Earthquakes are visualized on a 3D ...

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Visualizing Global Earthquakes – Where and Why do Earthquakes Occur?
Cara Harwood, University of California-Davis
In this activity students visualize the distribution and magnitude of earthquakes at and below the surface of Earth and how their distribution is related to plate boundaries. Earthquakes are visualized on a 3D ...

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Introduction to Moment Magnitude
John Jasbinsek, California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
This activity reviews body-wave magnitude, and takes a closer look at its merits. Then moment magnitude is defined and contrasted with body-wave magnitude. The 2004 Parkfield earthquake is used to illustrate moment ...

Earthquake Machine Demonstration
David Steer, The University of Akron
This classroom activity is a demonstration where students predict what will happen under various conditions. The "Earthquake Machine" shows relationships between stress, strain, friction along the fault ...

Earthquake resistant design
Lawrence L. Malinconico, Lafayette College
In groups of two, the students design and build a three-story building to be as earthquake resistant as possible. Using an in-house designed and built shaker table, we load each floor of the building based on area ...

Mercalli Earthquake Activity
Kaatje Kraft, Mesa Community College
A jigsaw process that allows students to analyze first person descriptions of earthquakes and assess several earthquake features.

Introduction to Earthquake Seismology Methods
Bruce Rueger, Colby College
This lab introduces students of aspects of earthquake seismology methods. These include analysis of p-wave amplitude, location of an earthquake epicenter and determining the time of occurrence of an earthquake. ...

The Epicenter of a Southwestern Earthquake
Steven Semken, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus; Tracy Perkins, South Mountain Community College
This activity guides students to use the measured difference in P and S wave velocities to locate the epicenter of a minor earthquake in the Southwestern United States. Click here to view the full activity on the ...

Walking Field Trip to the San Andreas Fault
Fred Winkler, California State University-San Bernardino
Due to our University's unique location approximately one mile from the nearest trace of the San Andreas Fault, we are able to take students on a walking field trip to the San Andreas. On the trip we set the ...

Liquefaction Live! activity
Maggie Zimmerman, Saint Paul College-A Community and Technical Col
In this activity, students are provided with equipment and instructions for creating a simulation of liquefaction. The activity is great for students because it first asks them to reflect of what they know about ...


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