This is a quick activity that shows how large amounts of rock and sediment are added to the edge of continents during subduction. You may ask, how can such a huge phenomenon be demonstrated quickly and cheaply? The answer is simple: with a cookie!
High School Geology
In this activity, learners use crayons to draw conclusions about rocks and the rock cycle. Learners form crayons ((which can be "weathered"--heated, compressed and cooled--like rocks) into models of sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks.
Students learn what causes earthquakes, how we measure and locate them, and their effects and consequences. Through the online Earthquakes Living Lab, student pairs explore various types of seismic waves and the differences between shear waves and compressional waves. They conduct research using the portion of the living lab that focuses primarily on the instruments, methods and data used to measure and locate earthquakes. Using real-time U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data accessed through the living lab interface, students locate where earthquakes are occurring and how frequently. Students propose questions and analyze the real-world seismic data to find answers and form conclusions. They are asked to think critically about why earthquakes occur and how knowledge about earthquakes can be helpful to engineers. A worksheet serves as a student guide for the activity.
Students learn how engineers characterize earthquakes through seismic data. Then, acting as engineers, they use real-world seismograph data and a tutorial/simulation accessed through the Earthquakes Living Lab to locate earthquake epicenters via triangulation and determine earthquake magnitudes. Student pairs examine seismic waves, S waves and P waves recorded on seismograms, measuring the key S-P interval. Students then determine the maximum S wave amplitudes in order to determine earthquake magnitude, a measure of the amount of energy released. Students consider how engineers might use and implement seismic data in their design work. A worksheet serves as a student guide for the activity.
Students study how geology relates to the frequency of large-magnitude earthquakes in Japan. Using the online resources provided through the Earthquakes Living Lab, students investigate reasons why large earthquakes occur in this region, drawing conclusions from tectonic plate structures and the locations of fault lines. Working in pairs, students explore the 1995 Kobe earthquake, why it happened and the destruction it caused. Students also think like engineers to predict where other earthquakes are likely to occur and what precautions might be taken. A worksheet serves as a student guide for the activity.
Students use U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) real-time, real-world seismic data from around the planet to identify where earthquakes occur and look for trends in earthquake activity. They explore where and why earthquakes occur, learning about faults and how they influence earthquakes. Looking at the interactive maps and the data, students use Microsoft® Excel® to conduct detailed analysis of the most-recent 25 earthquakes; they calculate mean, median, mode of the data set, as well as identify the minimum and maximum magnitudes. Students compare their predictions with the physical data, and look for trends to and patterns in the data. A worksheet serves as a student guide for the activity.
Through five lessons, students are introduced to all facets of the rock cycle. Topics include rock and mineral types, material stresses and weathering, geologic time and fossil formation, the Earth's crust and tectonic plates, and soil formation and composition. Lessons are presented in the context of the related impact on humans in the form of roadway and tunnel design and construction, natural disasters, environmental site assessment for building structures, and measurement instrumentation and tools. Hands-on activities include experiencing tensional, compressional and shear material stress by using only hand force to break bars of soap; preparing Jeopardy-type trivia questions/answers for a class game that reinforces students' understanding of rocks and the rock cycle; creating "fossils" using melted chocolate; working within design constraints to design and build a model tunnel through a clay mountain; and soil sampling by creating tools, obtaining soil cores, documenting a soil profile log, and analyzing the findings to make engineering predictions.
Rocks cover the earth's surface, including what is below or near human-made structures. With rocks everywhere, breaking rocks can be hazardous and potentially disastrous to people. Students are introduced to three types of material stress related to rocks: compressional, torsional and shear. They learn about rock types (sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic), and about the occurrence of stresses and weathering in nature, including physical, chemical and biological weathering.
In this activity, learners explore center of gravity, or balance point, of stacked blocks. Simple wooden blocks can be stacked so that the top block extends completely past the end of the bottom block, seemingly in a dramatic defiance of gravity. A mathematical pattern can be noted in the stacking.