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Lesson: Shake It Up with Seismographs

seismographStudents in grades 3 – 12 explore how the development of seismographs has helped save lives worldwide by working in teams to design their own seismograph from everyday items, test its ability to record a simulated classroom earthquake, evaluate their results, and report to the class.

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Web Resource: K-12 Engineering Projects from Stevens Institute of Tech

The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education sponsors and designs interdisciplinary projects that teachers can use to enhance their curriculum through compelling use of the Internet. CIESE focuses on projects that utilize real time data available from the Internet, and collaborative projects that utilize the Internet’s potential to reach peers and experts around the worldm as well as a list of online resources. Each project has a brief description and links to the National Science Standards and NCTM math standards it supports.

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Web Resource: The Science of Earthquakes


Tasa Graphics Arts, Inc., a company that illustrates science textbooks, offers an online chapter on earthquakes, with clear explanations and illustrations of key terms used in the study of seismology.

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Web Resources: Materials on Earthquakes


Five downloadable articles on earthquakes are available from The American Museum of Natural History, including accounts by middle and high school students, a explanatory piece titled “Forecasting Earthquakes Using Paleoseismology,” and a profile of Inge Lehmann, the female Danish seismologist whose 1920s investigations led to greater understanding of the Earth’s inner core.

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Web Resources: How Earthquakes Occur

The Incorporated Research Institutes for Seismology (IRIS) offers resources for teachers wishing to help their students better understand why devastating earthquakes like the one that recently struck Haiti happen. The “Teachable moments” page features presentations (including an excellent power point slide show), animations, posters, images, video, general information, programs, resources in Spanish, news, and more.

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