This week students became seismologists, studying the origin, nature, and effects of earthquakes. We began with an introduction to the structure of the earth’s interior and the tectonic plates that form its outer layer. We discussed the damage that quakes can cause, as well as why some regions are more likely to have earthquakes than others, depending on the type of tectonic plate boundaries they are near. It made sense to the students that earthquakes would be more common at convergent and transverse boundaries, rather than divergent ones.
After our initial discussion, students worked through a series of workstations to demonstrate different aspects of earthquakes, including the structural integrity needed for buildings to help survive a quake and how plate boundaries relate to the number of earthquakes in an area. Students used an earthquake machine to demonstrate how the plates slide past each other and observed the build up of tension that occurs.