This activity opens by asking students to demonstrate how 'hard" they think the ground shakes during an earthquake. To quantify their demonstrations of ground shaking, students are introduced to a three-component accelerometer (iPhone, laptop or USB). Have a teacher lead discussion, and allow the students to explore what an accelerometer measures. Next, students reflect on their estimations of ground shaking and compare it to a classroom demo (shaking a table with things on it at various peak accelerations), video clips of a full-scale house on a shake table, and recordings from actual quakes. The activity concludes by making connections between peak ground accelerations and the concept of an earthquakes intensity.
Students will be able to:
- Demonstrate ground shaking during an earthquake
- Explain what an accelerometer measures
- Explain earthquake intensity and how it is measured
- Explain/demonstrate how an accelerometer can be used to measure an earthquakes intensity