The Lawrence Hall of Science in the hills above UC Berkeley offers fantastic hands-on workshops and exhibits related to earthquakes and plate tectonics. The middle school program, “Earthquakes: Whose Fault Is It?” provides an excellent introduction to seismology. The program begins with a large puzzle of the Earth’s tectonic plates to introduce the idea of plate tectonics and begin a discussion of the location and movement of the tectonic plates. Students then investigate earthquakes and learn to read real and simulated seismograms. Finally, students use seismic recordings to locate the epicenter of an earthquake. Afterward the workshop, the permanent outdoor exhibit, “Forces that Shape the Bay” provides a free-form venue to explore plate tectonics through hands-on exhibits. The other exhibits and planetarium are also worthwhile.
Can understand that the Earth’s crust is divided into large tectonic plates that are in constant motion relative to one another.
Can read a seismogram.
Can differentiate between p and s waves.
Can use the p and s wave arrival time difference to triangulate the epicenter of an earthquake.
50 minute Earthquakes: Whose Fault Is It? workshop
30 minutes to explore Forces that Shape the Bay exhibits
optional additional time to explore other exhibits and/or the planetarium