Students entering into the 6th grade have an amazing opportunity to learn about the world in which they live through their Earth Science class. Simulations that help to explain concepts that are relevant to their lives are a must at the middle school age.
The students at our school come from all over the city in hopes of having a safe place where they can learn.
Entering into 6th grade can be daunting, but our students are eager to learn and excited about school! Our students come from diverse backgrounds - racially, socioeconomically, ethnically, and culturally. It is our job to make sure that no matter where our kids come from, they have equal access to a great education.
Hands-on activities help students better understand the causes of earthquakes and tsunamis. Students build structures, cities and shorelines on top of plywood or cardboard. The boards model our Earth's tectonic plates. The students take lineal measurements of their creations before and after they shift the boards/plates. However, often times the kids are so excited about the damage caused, they have difficulty connecting their measurements to the force applied.
My goal is to summarize the hands-on activities with the use of the "Shake, Rattle and Roll Earthquake Set", accompanied with the "Seismograph", to demonstrate how the slightest vibrations can be measured. Students will have opportunities to measure lineal changes and compare them to the measurement of the vibrations. As I tie earthquake lessons to tsunamis, I will use the "Sea Floor Simulator" to help students visualize how shifts in the plates under the oceans' floor cause the water above to move and impact the shores.
The addition of the equipment described will bring clarity to the causes and effects of Earth's forces.
It will also provide new opportunities for students to improve their measurement skills. In addition, it just may impress the scientific importance of taking, recording and tracking measurements. Or better yet, it could be the teacher's dream and inspire a student to be the next scientist or engineer to make the predictions and discoveries that save lives during earthquakes and tsunamis.
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