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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 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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