Teach the Earth > Introductory Courses > Activities > Liquefaction Live! activity

Liquefaction Live! activity

Maggie Zimmerman
St. Paul College
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process. This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This page first made public: Jul 11, 2008


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 liquefaction and make predictions for two different conditions, then lets them test their predictions. It also allows them to "destroy" a "building", which they seem to love.

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This activity is used in an introductory Physical Geology course.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students must understand how liquefaction happens and the conditions under which it can occur.

How the activity is situated in the course

This activity is a stand-alone exercise.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Students should be able to understand how varying soil and ground water conditions factor into liquefaction susceptibility.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students must utilize previous knowledge to make informed predictions.

Other skills goals for this activity

Students must understand basic ratios and be able to work in small groups.

Description of the activity/assignment

This activity is done after students have completed or are in the process of completing reading and lectures on ground water flow, earthquakes, and geologic hazards. In class, students receive all the materials necessary to complete the activity, along with worksheets that contain instructions and questions that need to be answered. Their task is to make predictions, execute the activities, and comment on what the outcomes.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students fill in a worksheet while doing this activity. Worksheets are graded on accuracy, completeness, and depth of critical thinking.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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