"Ever since people first became curious about earthquakes, they have tried to design some kind of seismograph to measure their intensity and magnitude. In this lab you will have the opportunity to make one by yourself or with a partner."
"Goals: Think of a creative but effective way to measure the seismic waves (shock waves) from an earthquake. Your seismometer must be:
- made of common inexpensive materials found in a local store or the science classroom;
- able to determine the relative magnitude (size) of each vibration it measures;
- able to measure vibrations continuously for at least 30 seconds;
- able to measure even slight vibrations from a shake table."
Students spent the first two days doing research about seismographs and developing an initial design. After submitting a materials list and receiving approval for design, students began construction on their seismometers on day three.
With PIRL Terrace open and supervised, students started construction of their seismometers. While in years past this project involved students working on their projects primarily from home, the new learning space provided access to a more diverse selection of tools and materials, allowing students to expand their thinking and be more creative. They also fed off of each others' design elements. Having the space and time to test out their models on the shake table encouraged further iteration in design.
Still to come is a formal testing period with data collection, along with a reflection and evaluation piece about the final design. Here are some pics of students at work.