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D. C. Boice (NAOJ), V. K. Clark (THS)
Activities for high school students enrolled in an earth science or geology/astronomy class are presented to demonstrate the location, frequency, magnitude, and associated effects of earthquakes that occur during the academic year around the world. These multidisciplinary activities are the result of three years of development in the setting of a geology/astronomy course for 9-12 grade students taught in Texas high schools and were constructed within the framework of the National Science Standards. Hence, they satisfy requirements for many skills outlined in the Texas Essential Elements, National Science Standards, and Benchmarks in Project 2061. The first activity demonstrates the location and frequency of moderate to major earthquakes around the world using the latitude and longitude of earthquakes obtained by e-mail subscription over the World Wide Web during the course of the school year. The second activity uses real seimic wave data to locate the epicenter of an earthquake. The third activity dramatically demonstrates the concept of liquefaction that is associated with many earthquakes. Real-time earthquake data show very dramatically the dynamic nature of our earth and should be highly relevant to the student. Materials needed for these activities include world maps (political and geophysical), a computer with WWW access, and miscellaneous inexpensive supplies. Other multidisciplinary activities can extend this unit to cover related topics, such as, natural effects of earthquakes (tsunamis, landslides, etc.) and plotting volcanoes in a similar fashion (which can be triggered by seismic disturbances) on another map. At the conclusion of these activities, the student should: 1) be able to generally predict where earthquakes are most likely to occur, 2) have a strong appreciation of the dynamic nature of the Earth and the role of plate tectonics in earthquakes, 3) to able to locate an earthquake's epicenter using seismic wave data, 4) appreciate effects associated with earthquakes, such as, liquefaction, and 5) improve their critical thinking skills (observation, hypothesis, prediction, inductive and deductive reasoning).