Physics

Earthquakes : Studying Earth's Interior

State Standards:

Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Frameworks
Grades6-8, Earth’s History, Describe how the movement ofthe earth’s crustal plates causes both slow changes in the earth’s surface(e.g., formation of mountains and ocean basins) and rapid ones (e.g., volcanic eruptions and earthquakes).

Essential Question:

How do earthquakes help scientists learn more about the interior of the Earth?

Lesson Question:

In this lesson students will be introduced to earthquakes as part of the layers of the Earth unit. Students will have previously learned about plate tectonics and the layers of the Earth. However, the goal of this particular lesson will be to explore the ways in which scientists know about the composition of the other layers of the Earth even though they have never been visited. Students will formulate their own hypotheses for the answer to this question and will investigate through different online simulations, videos, etc.

Introduction:

In this lesson students will be introduced to earthquakes as part of the layers ofthe Earth unit. Students will have previously learned about plate tectonics and the layers of the Earth. However, the goal of this particular lesson will be to explore the ways in which scientists know about the composition ofthe other layers of the Earth even though they have never been visited. Students will formulate their own hypothese sfor the answer to this question and will investigate through different online simulations, videos, etc.

Task:

The goal of the online earthquake simulator lab is to locate the epicenter and figure out the magnitude of an earthquake. Students follow a series of tasks and create graphs concerning the earthquake.

Lesson Experiences:

Conclusion:

At the end of this lesson students will have learned what causes earthquakes, how scientists find the epicenter of an earthquake, and how seismic waves are used to give scientists clues about the other layers of the earth.

Assessments:

In order to assess student work, student journals will be collected, and the Brain Pop quizzes will be corrected. At the end of the unit, there will be a unit test.

Resources:

Image Credit: Earthquake