Earthquake Case Study
Mesa Community CollegeAuthor Profile
This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection and has been reviewed by 1 other review process
This activity is a multiple case study analysis of different earthquakes that leads to student interpretation of claims, evidence and prediction/recommendations.
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Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Students have a basic understanding of what occurs during an earthquake, common hazards, varying earthquake scales.
How the activity is situated in the course
This is the culminating portion of my earthquake "unit" in my course. It is the last in a sequence of activities (the first of which starts with the Mercalli Scale Activity).
Content/concepts goals for this activity
By the end of this activity, students will be able to identify the cause of an earthquake and the damage that occurred. They will also be able to make predictions about future events in a given region based on evidence from the earthquake itself. In addition, students will make connections between the use of observations as data for geoscientists in the process of science.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Students will analyze data, synthesize ideas, and make predictions and recommendations about future events. Students will use their metacognitive skills to connect the course content to the metacurriculum of the process of science and their own thinking process.
Other skills goals for this activity
- Reading evaluation
- Oral communication
- Written communication
- Data Analysis
- Collaborative skills
- Group presentations
- Time management
- Self evaluation of performance and comprehension
Description of the activity/assignment
Students work in a jigsaw format, they start in an expert group analyzing one particular aspect of the earthquake that occurred (e.g., tsunami, geologic maps, damage assessment). After analyzing the data/information provided, students get into their new groups, which are a "consulting team" to make recommendations to key governmental officials about the earthquake they studied and implications for future development. These are presented in a poster session style event, which then leads to individual papers that are written about the same topic, which are peer reviewed and revised. Students are asked to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses in the process and to consider changes for future opportunities, as well as connect the curriculum to the overall process of science.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Students are assessed in the following ways:More information about assessment tools and techniques.
- Group presentation & comprehension
- Notebook evaluation of activity completion and detailed reflections
- Written assignment
- Quiz questions
Teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment (Microsoft Word 41kB May5 08)
- Grading rubric for written assignment (Microsoft Word 34kB May5 08)
- Question sets for the Alaska 1964 earthquake (Microsoft Word 28kB May5 08)
- Question sets for the Sumatra 2004 earthquake (Microsoft Word 36kB May5 08)
- Question sets for the Loma Prieta 1989 earthquake (Microsoft Word 35kB May5 08)
Teaching TipsTeaching Tips (Microsoft Word 42kB Jul17 08)
- Bibliography of resources (Microsoft Word 63kB May5 08)