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Subject:    Earthquakes

Grade Level:    High School (Earth Science, Physical Science and Physics)


This project provides students opportunities to collect and analyze earthquake data to determine guidelines for earthquake safety and preparedness.  Students will collaborate with researchers to determine what role (if any) can they, the students, have towards earthquake prediction.  Students will determine whether their communities are prepared for the aftermath of a large earthquake and determine how a community prepares for such an event. Students will use appropriate technology to obtain the data and will produce an informational pamphlet and/or web page for the community.

Learner Description/Environment:

Branchville High School is located in Branchville, SC.  It is part of Orangeburg Consolidated School District # 4 in Orangeburg, SC.  the school is rural and the racial make-up of the student body is approximately 52% black and 48 % white.  Approximately 60% of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch.  The classes will be Earth Science (grade 8), Physical Science (grade 9) and Physics (grade 12).  The science lab has six Internet connected computers.  Students will also have access to a computer lab and computers in their study halls.  A recent informal survey shows that approximately one-half of the students have Internet access at home.

Time Frame:

4 weeks; 3 hours per week

Learner Outcomes:    (Taken directly form the SC Science Standards)

Structure of the Learning:


The activity will foster an understanding of how  science, math and social studies concepts can be applied to reduce earthquake hazards and risk in the built environment through seismic safety design, construction, land-use, and emergency
management techniques. Students will work with experts from USC and elsewhere, as well as high school classes that are part of the S.C. Earthquake Physics Project (SCEPP), survivors of earthquakes, etc. to determine guidelines for earthquake safety and preparedness. Students will use data from their seismograph and others
stationed around the world to discuss seismic activity in the different areas - normal, before, and after earthquakes.  Students will further their study by collaborating with
researchers to determine what role (if any) can they the student have towards the science of earthquake prediction.  Based upon responses from experts, students will develop appropriate methods of inquiry that will provide needed scientific data.
Students will determine whether their communities are prepared for the aftermath of a large earthquake and determine how a community prepares for such an event.

In preparation for Earthquake Awareness Week - April 9-15, students
will see a presentation by an earthquake survivor that includes stories of the destruction and aftermath, as well as views of earthquake destruction from web pages. The discussion will include the Charleston earthquake of the 1800's (and the likelihood of
another soon) as well as personal experiences of the students (relatives or friends who lived through earthquakes).  This would lead into how students will be part of the SCEPP (South Carolina Earth Physics Project) - whereby they have a working seismograph in their school. Students are asked for help in preventing another
disaster of great proportions - both human and materialistic.



Students will produce a pamphlet, web page, and live video for public awareness. The importance of this project is that the students will have a greater sense of the devastation that earthquakes can cause, as well as being much more prepared for an emergency such as an earthquake.  The students will have determined if their community is prepared and will have helped the community become much more aware and prepared for an earthquake.

Best Use of Technology:


There will be a pre and post assessment of the content knowledge of the students. The teacher will use a rubric created by the students to assess the effectiveness of the groups.  Each group will share knowledge obtained on a weekly basis to the other groups in the class.  Each group will be given the opportunity to ask questions to the group on the knowledge obtained.  These weekly sessions will give the teacher an opportunity to determine where assistance is needed by the students.  A rubric will be created by the teacher for each of the community awareness projects created by the group.

Project Evaluation:

The project will be evaluated by the mastery of the content as well as the quality of the products that the students produce.  Linc On-Line Administrators will meet with the teacher involved in the project to discuss the progress.  The teacher and class involved in the project will share what is working well and what items may need adjustments.  This project will be offered several times and needed adjustments will be made.

Alignment with Standards:

The student outcomes listed above are taken directly from the South Carolina Science Curriculum Standards.  These Standards can be found on line at the South Carolina Department of
Education web site.   The South Carolina Science Standards were developed from the
National Science Education Standards so these learner outcomes should also correlate with
the National Standards.

Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.

Author(s): Starr Bright, Theresa Owens, Lu Anne Smith
School: Branchville High School, Orangeburg, SC
Created: February 25, 2001 Updated: April 10, 2001
URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/lincon/w01/projects/earthquakes/present.html