On-Line Seismology Curriculum for Use with Educational Seismographs

On-Line Seismology Curriculum for Use with Educational Seismographs Structure of the BC-ESP on-line curriculum. Blue boxes represent specific exercises that are part of the curriculum. Words in italics, such as Inquire, Explore, Investigate, Learn, etc. depict the aspects of the scientific process that are highlighted in a particular exercise.
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We developed a user-friendly, on-line seismology curriculum for teachers, students, and anyone else who operates an educational seismograph. The goal of this endeavor is to provide a resource on the web for people who are looking for some guidance regarding what they can do with their AS1 (or EQ1) seismograph once they have successfully installed it and have it up and running. The curriculum exercises are linked together with a unifying theme that helps guide students to engage in their own inquiry regarding what is recorded by their seismograph. A very common question that we hear from students and teach- ers, is: “The news reported that there was a _______ magnitude earthquake in _______. Did we record it on our seismograph?” Using this question as a “hook”, we encourage scientific inquiry by designing our curriculum around asking students to look at their own seismograms and figure out the answer to this question by themselves. The philosophy behind this approach is that, in the process of learning how to go about answering this specific question, students will become more comfortable with scien- tific inquiry in general. The figure shows the structure of the on-line curriculum, which can be found at http://bcespcurriculum. wordpress.com.
</p><p>The blue boxes in the figure represent exercises that are part of the curriculum, and the words in italics, such as Inquire, Explore, Investigate, Learn, etc. depict the aspect of the scientific method that is highlighted in a particular exercise. During any exercise, many of these aspects of scientific investigation will, of course, be expected to be happening, but the words in italics indicate what part of the process is highlighted in that exercise.
</p><p>This curriculum was assessed by way of a pre-post test administered to classes using this curriculum as part of the Boston College Educational Seismology Project (BC-ESP). We investigated how well the test assesses content and comprehension of the topics we cover, as well as readability and appropriate grade level of the test questions. Based on an analysis of how the pre- test results compare with the post-test results, we found that: (1) the test is suitable for the population it was used for, and (2) the students made significant gains between the pre-test and the post-pest, providing evidence that the curriculum is effective.
</p><p>Acknowledgements: This work was performed with support from an IRIS subaward to Weston Observatory, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Boston College.</p>

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