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NewsHour Extra Lesson Plan: You Don't Need a Seismograph to Study Earthquakes
Increasingly, scientists are discovering ways to predict and prevent loss of life associated with earthquakes. This lesson will help students to understand earthquakes. The first portion consists of an online investigation in which students read news stories about recent earthquakes and their effects. Then, they perform an activity in which seismic waves (P and S waves) are simulated using a slinky and a length of rope. The lesson concludes with an activity in which they construct a model of a transform plate boundary and observe the effects of strike-slip motion as the two "plates" slide past each other
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Lesson plan
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geophysics
  • Natural hazards
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 2006 MacNeil-Lehrer Productions. All rights reserved.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-009-303
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 9-12:
      • B - Physical science:
        • Conservation of energy and increase in disorder
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Energy in the earth system
      • F - Science in personal / social perspectives:
        • Environmental quality
        • Natural and human-induced hazards
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Contact: Leah Clapman
Public Broadcasting System (PBS)