Mid-Hudson Master Teacher’s Workshop


Many of the physical features and phenomena covered during a traditional unit on earthquakes are impractical or impossible for students to directly experience. As a result these topics are ripe for using models during instruction to help students develop tentative schemes or structures that correspond to real objects and events. In this session, participants will have an opportunity to explore a number of seismological concepts that span multiple disciplinary core ideas from several middle school and high school NGSS Earth & Space Science Performance Expectations. A primary emphasis will be placed on developing participant’s proficiency with the Science and Engineering Practice Developing and Using Models and the Crosscutting Concept of Systems and Models. Specifically, instruction will include evaluating the merits and limitations of models, linking multiple types of models to provide mechanistic accounts for phenomena (e.g. the complexities of unviewable fault processes), supporting explanations by analyzing and interpreting data generated by a model (e.g. earthquake forecasting, predicting Earth’s interior structure, etc). While the amount of time required to construct/obtain each model will vary, all are inexpensive and relatively easy to construct.

http://www.iris.edu/hq/inclass/animation/traveltime_curves_how_they_are_createdhttp://www.iris.edu/hq/inclass/animation/layers_of_the_earthVisualizing the unviewable: Simple models to activate your earthquake/plate tectonics unit

October 6th and 7th, 2015 – New Paltz, NY


  • improve participants’ foundation in seismology
  • provide participants with a variety of high-quality, engaging, and scientifically accurate activities to deliver content to their students

Underpinning philosophy…. Provide participants with experience using IRIS’s educational resources as they actively learn the content through their use. 

Tuesday – October 5, 2015  

5:30 - 6:00             Dinner

6:00 – 6:20            Introduction Activity

6:20 – 6:30            IRIS Overview & Review of Agenda/Outcomes

6:30 – 7:00            Introduction to Models

Outcome: Teachers will be able to explain how do models (generally) foster cognition and how they and demonstrate their use as aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.

7:00 – 8:00            The Earthquake Machine/Marble Tongs/Asperity Vice
Outcome: Teachers will be able to explain stick-slip fault behavior (Elastic Rebound Thoery) using mechanical models and use data collected from the model to explore issues related to earthquake prediction.

8:00pm                        Wrap-up/Gots and Needs


Wednesday - October 6, 2015

5:30 - 6:00             Dinner

6:00 – 6:15            Gots and Needs (Slides)

6:15 – 6:45            Seismic Waves
Outcome: Teachers will be able to demonstrate and explain three types of seismic waves using slinkys use multiple slinkys to explore how waves can be conceptualized as both wave fronts and raypaths, and explain how waves propagate within Earth’s interior.

6:45 – 8:00            Exploring Earth Structure with Occam’s Razor
Outcome: Teachers will be able to use simple scale models of Earth and recent seismic data to determine Earth’s internal structure.

8:00pm                        Wrap-up