Pasta Quake & Earthquake Magnitude
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 https://serc.carleton.edu/teachearth/activity_review.html.
This page first made public: May 24, 2018
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
- Define the difference between Richter Magnitude, Moment Magnitude, and Intensity
- Explain the energy difference between different Moment Magnitude steps.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
Pasta Quake Activity (Acrobat (PDF) 481kB Apr2 19)
Two animations which strongly support activity concepts:
Teaching Notes and Tips
Materials needed for a full demonstration of Magnitudes 5 to 9:
- Single strand of spaghetti for each learner plus some extras (Mag 5)
- One or more bundles of 32 strands (Mag 6). If you are using this just as a visual aid, one rubberbanded bundle is enough. Have additional bundles if you want learners to have the chance to "make" a Mag 6 earthquake themselves. (note: pasta fragments will scatter everywhere so it may help to break it over a tray or tub)
- One bundle of ~1024 strands (Mag 7). (note: this is about 2 pounds for standard spaghetti)
- Circle ~15 inches across (Mag 8). This represents the approximate cross-sectional area of 32x1024=32,768 spaghetti strands. Tarp material or plastic sheeting works well.
- Circle ~7 feet across (Mag 9). This is the approximate cross-sectional area of 32x32,768=1,048,576 spaghetti strands. Tarp material, plastic sheeting, or perhaps a round table cloth can work well.
References and Resources
- The activity was presented as part of the EarthScope ANGLE Educator Workshops. The associated presentation is Earthquake Basics.
- This version of the activity was improved by ShakeAlert and further changes in the future are possible.
- Original TOTLE webpage for this activity
- Contact ANGLE with questions or comments.