Teaching about Hazards: Activities
These activity descriptions have been submitted by faculty from a range of disciplines. They may be adopted as is or modified to fit your course.
Subject: Natural Hazards
Results 1 - 20 of 410 matches
Episodic tremor and slip: The Case of the Mystery Earthquakes | Lessons on Plate Tectonics
Earthquakes in western Washington and Oregon are to be expected—the region lies in the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Offshore, the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate subducts under the North American plate, from northern California to British Columbia. The region, however, also experiences exotic seismicity— Episodic Tremor and Slip (ETS).In this lesson, your students study seismic and GPS data from the region to recognize a pattern in which unusual tremors--with no surface earthquakes--coincide with jumps of GPS stations. This is ETS. Students model ductile and brittle behavior of the crust with lasagna noodles to understand how properties of materials depend on physical conditions. Finally, they assemble their knowledge of the data and models into an understanding of ETS in subduction zones and its relevance to the millions of residents in Cascadia.
Visualizing Relationships with Data: Exploring plate boundaries with Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and GPS Data in the Western U.S. & Alaska | Lessons on Plate Tectonics
Learners use the UNAVCO GPS Velocity Viewer, or the included map packet to visualize relationships between earthquakes, volcanoes, and plate boundaries as a jigsaw activity.
Detecting Cascadia's changing shape with GPS | Lessons on Plate Tectonics
Research-grade Global Positioning Systems (GPS) allow students to deduce that Earth's crust is changing shape in measurable ways. From data gathered by EarthScope's Plate Boundary Observatory, students discover that the Pacific Northwest of the United States and coastal British Columbia — the Cascadia region - are geologically active: tectonic plates move and collide; they shift and buckle; continental crust deforms; regions warp; rocks crumple, bend, and will break.
Measuring Plate Motion with GPS: Iceland
This lesson teaches middle and high school students to understand the architecture of GPS—from satellites to research quality stations on the ground. This is done with physical models and a presentation. Then students learn to interpret data for the station's position through time ("time series plots"). Students represent time series data as velocity vectors and add the vectors to create a total horizontal velocity vector. They apply their skills to discover that the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is rifting Iceland. They cement and expand their understanding of GPS data with an abstraction using cars and maps. Finally, they explore GPS vectors in the context of global plate tectonics.
Converging Tectonic Plates Demonstration
During this demo, participants use springs and a map of the Pacific Northwest with GPS vectors to investigate the stresses and surface expression of subduction zones, specifically the Juan de Fuca plate diving beneath the North American plate.
Engaging With Earthquake Hazard and Risk
This introductory activity engages learners in the study of earthquake hazards and the risk these hazards pose to humans in the communities in which we live. Learners will compare three maps of Anchorage, AK, depicting spatial information related to seismic hazards to generate questions about the factors that influence shaking intensity and damage to the built environment during earthquakes.
Frequency of Large Earthquakes
Using the IRIS Earthquake Browser tool, students gather data to support a claim about how many large (Mw 8+) earthquakes will happen globally each year. This activity provides scaffolded experience downloading data and manipulating data within a spreadsheet.
Understanding Doppler radar radial velocity fields
This activity is designed to help students learn how to interpret Doppler radial velocity radar images with meteorological applications, as well as giving students a chance to practice their spatial skills.
Bomb Cyclones - They're Explosive!
Storms can have devastating impacts on coastal communities. Typically, tropical storms like hurricanes get the most attention, but there are other types of storms that occur at more northern latitudes that can be ...
Rally Speeches for Coastal Optimism
Storytelling is an effective way to communicate what is happening along our local-to-international coastal zones. However, most of the stories students hear are ones of "doom and gloom." Therefore, ...
Earthquake Early Warning Demonstration
This hands-on demonstration illustrates how GPS instruments can be used in earthquake early warning systems to alert people of impending shaking. The same principles can be applied to other types of early warning systems (such as tsunami) or to early warning systems using a different type of geophysical sensor (such as a seismometer instead of a GPS).This demo is essentially a game that works best with a large audience (ideally over 30 people) in an auditorium. A few people are selected to be either surgeons, GPS stations, or a warning siren, with everyone else forming an earthquake "wave."
Science with Flubber: Glacial Isostasy
Using two sets of flubber, one representing the Earth and one representing a glacier, demonstrate how the crust sinks and rebounds to the weight of a glacier, and how this motion can be measured using GPS.Flubber is a rubbery elastic substance, a non-Newtonian elasco-plastic fluid, that flows under gravity, but breaks when under high stress. Flubber is useful for demonstrating a wide range of Earth and glacier processes.
Did You Feel It?
Did you have an earthquake where you live and want to participate in Community Science? Would you like students to better understand how earthquake intensity is determined? This guide provides ideas about how you can incorporate the online USGS tool: Did You Feel It? into your classroom.
Introductory lesson that compares ShakeMaps between earthquakes in the same location but different magnitudes, and earthquakes of the same magnitude but different depths, to acquaint learners to the fundamental controls on intensity of shaking felt during an event: magnitude and distance from the earthquake source.
Understanding Earthquakes: Comparing seismograms
Introductory lesson that contextualizes how multiple instruments provide a more complete picture on an event.
Getting students started with the Quake Catcher Network
Teacher guide and tutorial for accessing data using the Quake Catcher Network (QCN) portal.
Geologic Hazards and the Built Environment
Collaborative, research-based activity of varying lengths. Main outcome is to identify potential vulnerabilities in the built environment and possible solutions.
Making Community Connections to Co-learn about Earthquakes
Many people live in regions prone to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, but the hazards and risks inherent in our communities may be very different. Making connections with learners from another location is a great way to share knowledge and practice science communication skills. Video conferencing applications like Zoom and Skype make it possible to connect with learners anywhere in the world. This activity provides a simple protocol, and a form for submitting a request to connect with a classroom teacher in Anchorage, Alaska.
Topographic differencing: Earthquake along the Wasatch fault
After a big earthquake happens people ask, 'Where did the earthquake occur? How big was it? What type of fault was activated?' We designed an undergraduate laboratory exercise in which students learn how ...
Let's Look Inside the Earth
Students will analyze USGS seismology data in the classroom using spreadsheets and scatter plots to look for patterns and structure in the Earth's crust. Before analyzing data, students will learn about the ...