Teaching Activities

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Seismic Geohazards & Earthquake Hazard Maps: Alaska emphasis
TOTLE (Teachers on the Leading Edge), CEETEP (Cascadia EarthScope Earthquake and Tsunami Education Program), EarthScope ANGLE, and ShakeAlert projects
Ground shaking is the primary cause of earthquake damage to man-made structures. This exercise combines three related activities on the topic of shaking-induced ground instability: a ground shaking amplification demonstration, a seismic landslides demonstration, and a liquefaction experiment. The amplitude of ground shaking is affected by the type of near-surface rocks and soil. Earthquake ground shaking can cause even gently sloping areas to slide when those same areas would be stable under normal conditions. Liquefaction is a phenomenon where water-saturated sand and silt take on the characteristics of a dense liquid during the intense ground shaking of an earthquake and deform. Includes Alaska and San Francisco examples.

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Earthquake Hazard Inventory & Mitigation Planning
Bonnie Magura (Portland Public Schools), CEETEP (Cascadia EarthScope Earthquake and Tsunami Education Program), and ANGLE Project
In this two-part activity, students/participants first: - Complete a Hazard Inventory for their city or area of interest in the event of a magnitude 7 or larger earthquake and tsunami. - Identify what critical structures and infrastructure will be affected. Then: - Write a summary statement assessing strengths and vulnerabilities of essential services or infrastructure. - Propose actions for mitigating vulnerabilities. - Create an Action Plan to address identified needs.

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Build a Better Wall
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration) and CEETEP (Cascadia EarthScope Earthquake and Tsunami Education Program). Improvements by ShakeAlert.
How can we design buildings to withstand an earthquake? This activity uses simple materials and gives learners a chance to experiment with structures that can withstand an earthquake. Two optional activities explore building damage by subjecting models to ground vibration on a small shake table.

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BOSS Model: Building Oscillation Seismic Simulation
IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology), FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration), Chris Hedeen (Oregon City High School), and ANGLE Project
Building Oscillation Seismic Simulation, or BOSS, is an opportunity for learners to explore the phenomenon of resonance for different building heights while performing a scientific experiment that employs mathematical skills. They experience how structures behave dynamically during an earthquake.

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Tsunami Vertical Evacuation Structures (TVES)
Bonnie Magura (Portland Public Schools), Roger Groom (Mt Tabor Middle School), and CEETEP (Cascadia EarthScope Earthquake and Tsunami Education Program)
Students learn about tsunami vertical evacuation structures (TVES) as a viable solution for communities with high ground too far away for rapid evacuation. Students then apply basic design principles for TVES and make their own scale model that they think would fit will in their target community. Activity has great scope for both technical and creative design as well as practical application of math skills. Examples are from the Pacific Northwest, USA's most tsunami-vulnerable communities away from high ground, but it could be adapted to any region with similar vulnerability.

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Base Isolation for Earthquake Resistance
Larry Braile (Purdue University) and TOTLE (Teachers on the Leading Edge) Project
This document includes two activities related to earthquake base isolation. Learners explore earthquake hazards and damage to buildings by constructing model buildings and subjecting the buildings to ground vibration (shaking similar to earthquake vibrations) on a small shake table. Base isolation a powerful tool for earthquake engineering. It is meant to enable a building to survive a potentially devastating seismic impact through a proper initial design or subsequent modifications. The buildings are constructed by two- or three-person learner teams.

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Old Sticks in the Mud: Hazards of Lahars from Mount Rainier Volcano
Patrick Pringle, Centralia College
Volcanic debris flows (lahars) flow long distances, bury and aggrade river valleys, and cause long-term stream disturbances and dramatic landscape changes. Students will evaluate the nature, scale, and history of ...

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Case Study: Zhouqu, China Landslide
Robin Humphreys, College of Charleston
This is a 'citizen science' research project where students to apply their knowledge of landslide processes in an investigation of the natural and anthropogenic causes of a real-world landslide ...

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An Assessment of Hillslope Stability Using the Factor of Safety
Laura Moore, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
In this homework assignment students are asked to consider the balance of forces on a hill slope using the Factor of Safety.

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Vectors and slope stability
Eric Baer, Highline Community College
An in-class activity or homework for graphically solving slope-stability problems with vectors.

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Structural Control of Giant Rock Avalanches in Argentina
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Students analyze the influence of bedrock structures on the locations of giant rock avalanches in Argentina. Activity is available in two versions: 1) short case example that can be used as an in-class activity or ...

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Be Smart, Be Prepared! Planning an Emergency Backpack
Bonnie Magura (Portland Public Schools), CEETEP (Cascadia EarthScope Earthquake and Tsunami Education Program), and ANGLE Project
Participants learn what to do before, during, and after a potentially damaging earthquake. They brainstorm valuable components for an emergency supplies backpack and then present on their ideas. The primary resource is the booklet Are you prepared for the next big EARTHQUAKE in Alaska?

Evaluating Rainfall, Landslides, and Weather: Big Sur, California
Ana Garcia-Garcia, Monterey Peninsula College
This activity leads to understanding common landslide hazards in the area and how they relate to weather patterns and/or local geology.

Investigating slope failure and landscape evolution with red beans and rice!
Tom Hickson, University of St. Thomas (MN)
Students investigate the behavior of a slope profile over geological timescales using a very simple experimental apparatus. The lab allows students to understand concepts of equilibrium, controls on slope profile, ...

Diagnosing Landslide Hazard
Diagnosing Landslide Hazard: Les Hasbargen, SUNY College at Oneonta Intended Audience: This activity is designed for upper division Geology, Earth Science, and Earth Science education majors. Location: Landslide ...


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