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Understanding earthquakes (CS39)

Learning Scenario Description
TitleUnderstanding earthquakes
Creator         CreatorNikos Zygouritsas
Main Idea / DescriptionThis lesson is designed for middle school students to help them understand the phenomenon of earthquakes. It is based on the Design Thinking Methodology.
Target Group Students aged 14-16 years old
Curriculum & Learning SubjectsScience, ICT
CompetenciesLearning Objectives:
– Students will gain an understanding of earthquakes, their causes, and effects.
-They will apply design thinking methodology to build a simple seismograph to detect and record earthquake vibrations.
– They’ll work in four steps: Feel, Imagine, Create, Share!
Teachers’ Wellness Competences – Emotional e-awareness
– Social e-competency
–  Emotional leadership/ e-mediacy
Learning Scenario Framework
Pedagogical Method– PI1. Emphasising strengths (Lean on your strengths and have a positive mindset)
– PI3. Enforcing attention and Awareness (Be attentive and aware)
– PI4. Relationships support (Support and work well with others)
– PI5. Learning resilience (Learn to cope and become resilient)
– PI6. Encouraging engagement (Engage students in self-directed and dedicated learning)
– PI8.  Focusing on Sense of purpose (Have a voice and be active)
Software & Materials – Internet connection
– Internet Browser
– Presentation Application (Microsoft Powerpoint)
– Design Software
Evaluation Tools– Worksheets: Teachers can assess students through the completion of worksheets and/or online questionnaires
– Students’ work: Teachers can assess the work of the students, their presentations, artwork.
Learning Scenario Implementation
Learning ActivitiesThe Learning Scenario can take several sessions of 45 minutes.It is presented as a learning activity here: The teacher starts the activity by presenting a relevant video:

The teacher presents information on earthquakes so that students can understand the issue
What is an Earthquake? An earthquake is a natural geological phenomenon characterized by the sudden release of energy in the Earth’s crust. This release of energy causes seismic waves, which propagate outward from the earthquake’s point of origin, known as the focus or hypocenter. The point on the Earth’s surface directly above the hypocenter is called the epicenter. Earthquakes can vary in size, from minor tremors that are barely perceptible to catastrophic events that cause widespread devastation.
Causes of Earthquakes: Most earthquakes are caused by the movement of tectonic plates, which make up the Earth’s outermost layer, known as the lithosphere. The Earth’s lithosphere is divided into several large and small plates that float on the semi-fluid asthenosphere beneath them. The interactions and movements of these tectonic plates are responsible for earthquakes. The main types of plate movements that generate earthquakes are as follows:
Transform Boundaries: Earthquakes occur at transform boundaries when tectonic plates slide past each other horizontally. The friction between the plates prevents smooth movement, leading to stress buildup and eventual release in the form of an earthquake.
Convergent Boundaries: Earthquakes occur at convergent boundaries where two tectonic plates collide. One plate is forced beneath the other in a process called subduction. The intense pressure and friction between the plates result in earthquakes.
Divergent Boundaries: Earthquakes occur at divergent boundaries where tectonic plates move apart. As the plates separate, magma rises from the Earth’s mantle to fill the gap, leading to volcanic activity and earthquakes.
Intraplate Earthquakes: Intraplate earthquakes occur within tectonic plates, away from their boundaries. These earthquakes are less common but can still cause significant damage. They are often triggered by ancient faults or stresses accumulated within the plate.
Impact on Society: Earthquakes can have significant effects on society, including loss of life, injuries, damage to infrastructure, displacement of people, economic impacts, psychological trauma, and social disruption. The extent of these impacts depends on factors such as the earthquake’s magnitude, depth, distance from populated areas, and the level of preparedness and resilience of the affected community.To minimize the impact of earthquakes, communities must prioritize earthquake preparedness, enforce strict building codes, conduct public awareness campaigns, and develop robust disaster response plans.

Make groups of 5s.Share your experiences of earthquakes.Search the internet for personal stories about earthquakes.Create a simple visual representation (drawing or collage) of the different sources of light pollution they learned about.

Earthquakes can have significant effects on society, ranging from immediate and direct impacts to long-term consequences. The severity of these effects depends on various factors, including the earthquake’s magnitude, depth, distance from populated areas, and the level of preparedness and resilience of the affected community. Here are some of the primary effects of earthquakes on society:
Loss of Life and Injuries: The most immediate and tragic impact of earthquakes is the loss of human lives and injuries. Collapsing buildings, falling debris, and landslides can lead to casualties and severe injuries.
Damage to Infrastructure: Earthquakes can cause extensive damage to buildings, roads, bridges, and other critical infrastructure. This disrupts transportation, communication, and access to essential services, hindering emergency response and relief efforts.
Displacement and Homelessness: Severe earthquakes can render large numbers of people homeless as their houses become uninhabitable or unsafe. Displacement can lead to temporary shelters, overcrowding in unaffected areas, and the need for humanitarian aid.
Economic Impact: The destruction of infrastructure, businesses, and homes can have significant economic consequences. It can lead to loss of income, increased costs for rebuilding, and disruptions to industries and supply chains.
Psychological Trauma: Earthquakes can cause widespread fear, anxiety, and psychological trauma among affected communities. The uncertainty and unpredictability of seismic events can lead to a long-lasting impact on mental health.
Disruption of Services: Earthquakes can disrupt essential services such as water supply, electricity, and healthcare facilities. Lack of access to clean water and medical care can exacerbate the impact on health and well-being.
Environmental Impact: Earthquakes can trigger landslides, tsunamis (if the quake is underwater), and other geohazards. These events can lead to environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, and pollution.
Social Disruption: Earthquakes can create social disruption as communities struggle to cope with the aftermath. Social fabric may be strained, and social services may be overwhelmed, particularly in areas with limited resources or inadequate disaster preparedness.
Educational Disruption: Schools and educational facilities can be damaged, leading to disruptions in learning and educational progress for students.
Increased Vulnerability: Earthquakes can expose existing vulnerabilities within society, such as inadequate building codes, lack of disaster preparedness, or inadequate emergency response systems.
Measuring Earthquakes: Earthquakes are measured using two primary scales: magnitude and intensity.
Magnitude: The magnitude of an earthquake quantifies the amount of energy released at its source. The most commonly used scale for measuring magnitude is the Moment Magnitude Scale (Mw). Each increase of one unit on the scale represents approximately 32 times more energy release. For example, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 releases about 32 times more energy than one with a magnitude of 6.0.
Intensity: Intensity measures the earthquake’s effects on the Earth’s surface and is described using the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale. The MMI scale ranges from I (not felt) to XII (total destruction). Intensity can vary depending on the earthquake’s location, depth, and the nature of the local geology.
Seismic Waves: Seismic waves are the energy waves generated by earthquakes. There are three main types of seismic waves:
Primary Waves (P-Waves): P-waves are the fastest seismic waves and are the first to arrive at a seismograph station. They are compressional waves that travel through solid and liquid materials.
Secondary Waves (S-Waves): S-waves are slower than P-waves and arrive second at a seismograph station. They are shear waves that can travel only through solid materials, not liquids.
Surface Waves: Surface waves travel along the Earth’s surface and cause the most damage during an earthquake. They include Love waves and Rayleigh waves.

Make groups of 5sThink about your neighborhood – city. Do you know if they were hit by earthquakes? Can you see any effects?Think why it is important to measure earthquakes.

A seismograph is a scientific instrument used to detect and record seismic waves caused by earthquakes or other ground vibrations. It provides valuable data that helps scientists study earthquakes, monitor seismic activity, and assess earthquake hazards. Here’s how a seismograph works:
1. Sensor (Seismometer): The seismograph’s core component is the sensor, also known as the seismometer. The sensor is designed to detect ground motion and convert it into an electrical signal. There are various types of sensors, but the most common ones use a mass suspended by springs or pendulums.
2. Frame or Vault: To protect the sensitive sensor from external noise and disturbances, seismographs are often placed in a stable frame or vault buried in the ground. This isolation ensures that the sensor primarily detects ground motions caused by seismic waves rather than human activity or environmental factors.
3. Ground Motion Detection: When an earthquake or other ground vibration occurs, the ground moves beneath the seismograph. This movement also affects the sensor’s mass, causing it to move relative to the surrounding frame.
4. Inertial Mass and Springs: The sensor’s mass is designed to have a relatively high inertia, meaning it tends to remain stationary due to its mass and resistance to motion. The mass is suspended within the frame by springs or pendulums, allowing it to move freely in response to ground motion.
5. Recording Device: The motion of the sensor’s mass is transferred to a recording device, which records the movement of the seismograph over time. In traditional seismographs, this recording device involves a rotating drum covered with paper. The drum is connected to the sensor so that its movement corresponds to the motion of the ground.
6. Trace or Seismogram: As the ground moves during an earthquake, the seismograph’s recording device produces a trace, also known as a seismogram. The seismogram is a graphical representation of the seismic waves detected by the sensor. It typically shows a series of wavy lines, with the amplitude and frequency of the waves corresponding to the magnitude and type of seismic waves.
7. Analyzing the Seismogram: Scientists analyze the seismogram to determine various characteristics of the earthquake, such as its magnitude, duration, and type of seismic waves. The seismogram also helps identify the earthquake’s epicenter and hypocenter (point of origin), which are essential for understanding the earthquake’s location and depth.
Digital Seismographs: While traditional seismographs use physical recording devices like rotating drums, modern seismographs are often digital and use electronic sensors to detect and record seismic waves. In digital seismographs, the sensor’s motion is converted into electrical signals, which are then digitized and stored electronically. This digital data can be analyzed and transmitted more easily, allowing for real-time monitoring and remote access to seismic data.In summary, a seismograph works by detecting ground motion through a sensitive sensor and recording it as a trace or seismogram. The resulting data helps scientists study earthquakes and seismic activity, providing crucial information for earthquake monitoring and research.
In groups of 10, brainstorm creative ideas to built your own seismograph.Think outside the box and consider innovative solutions. Search the internet for instructions.You can use the materials already prepared for you.

It’s time to share your work.We’re going to organise a dedicated open event to inform the school community.
Prepare presentations to inform the school community about earthquakes and their effects.