Earthquake Machine Demonstration
The University of Akron
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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 and slip.
Introductory earth science course
for non-majors. It also works well in physical geology.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Students should have some rudimentary understanding of friction and the processes associated with fault movement.
How the activity is situated in the course
This demonstration is integrated with a lesson earthquake mechanics and perhaps magnitudes.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Apply the principles of stress, strain and friction to predict movement for a simulated earthquake.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Predicting the slip is an analysis-level activity. Matching the various processes in the Earth to actions or components of the earthquake machine is synthesis level.
Other skills goals for this activity
Students work in groups to complete these activities.
Description of the activity/assignment
Students are expected to complete readings related to the mechanics of earthquakes (most don't do it). This activity allows them to apply the rules and extend their knowledge by making predictions.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Students make predictions and answer the questions on the PPT using student response systems.
More information about assessment tools and techniques.
Teaching materials and tips