Earthquake by yaofenji


                                    (PASS 8th Grade)

Problem Based Learning Scenario

Your group is a team of engineers located in San Francisco, California, where
earthquakes are a fairly common occurrence. The Technology Institute of America has
hired you along with other engineering teams to design an earthquake resistant building
for their corporate headquarters. Your challenge is to complete a structure that will be
able to withstand these earthquakes. Decide on the best location for the structure and
make a presentation to the company to present your design.

Things to consider:

   o   Appropriate location (near an airport, in a town with more than 50,000 people)
   o   Effective building design
   o   Cost in relation to durability
   o   How your product will be presented

Subject Area Guidelines

  o Day One- Have each student define/illustrate the rectangular coordinate plane, the
      x-axis, y-axis, and origin on his or her own paper. Now, allow several students to
      explain/represent these concepts on a large, shared graph. (A smart board or pre-
      drawn graph on the blackboard is ideal.) Discuss the idea of a point (x, y), and
      give each group several points to plot on the large graph contained on the Points
      to Graph worksheet (see Appendix D).
  o Day Two- Allow students to discuss among themselves the relationship between
      the x-value and the y-value of a point and doing a graphing activity. Wrap up this
      class by determining the accuracy of the groups’ plotted points.
  o Day Three to Five- inform students that they are to represent their data (total cost
      of the building and time their structure stood) on a graph. Each group is to bring
      their data sheets from their science class. This includes the Total Building Cost
      worksheet and the amount of time the group’s building withstood the earthquake.
      To begin, have each group decide on which axis of the graph to place time and
      which axis to place cost. It is important to discuss, as a class, which axis is best.
      Each group should then decide what point corresponds to their data. Once each
      group has a point (time, cost), the students should decide what scale to use in
      order to plot each group’s point on the large, shared graph. After the scale has
      been agreed upon and put on the large graph, have a volunteer from each group
      plot his/her team’s point. It is then time to observe the data and discuss whether
      or not there is a relationship between time the structures withstood the earthquake
      and the cost of the structures. Have each student write a paragraph explaining, in
      mathematical terms, why there is or is not a relationship.
Teacher will construct a shake table and provide a demonstration using wooden blocks
and different configurations of heights and shapes and stacks, allowing students to make
suggestions on configurations of building shapes and connections to other subjects.
Shake table will be constructed of PVC, Plywood, rubber bands, wooden dowels or tennis
balls, and hooks.

   o Day One- Students will be given a pre-test. Student will be given the problem
     scenario and given 15 min to decide on a structure, the rest of the period will be
     used to write or sketch a final plan
   o Day Two- Students will be allotted 25 imaginary dollars to purchase supplies for
     construction of their building and start construction, they must keep track of costs
   o Day Three- Finish construction, Plan test : Problem, gather information and data,
     form hypothesis , identify variables and perform test, analyze findings, draw
     conclusions, report, retest
   o Day Four- Finish testing structures
   o Day Five- Report findings and Post test

Language Arts-
   o Day One-To begin the lesson on earthquakes, students will read a nonfiction
      informational text about earthquakes. After reading it, they will discuss what they
      read about. Using the information they gathered about earthquakes from the
      nonfiction text, they will write and understand the structure of simple, compound
      and complex sentences.
   o Day Two -Next, the students will learn to appreciate and write limerick poetry
      about earthquakes. Also, the students will use to illustrate their
   o Day Three to Five- After all the information is gathered from their experiments
      and research, the students will understand and learn how to write a persuasive
      paragraph. Next, in their research groups the students will collaboratively write a
      persuasive paragraph for their presentation.

   Media/Technology- Communication of your team’s work is going to be very
   important. You need to lead the process of designing an electronic poster to be used
   in your presentation, convincing Technology Institute of America on your design.
    Media/Technology Specialist – During all production phases, make sure and use
       your team’s digital camera to record all steps. You can add these to your digital
       poster. A digital poster can be created with a multitude of tools, we will be using
    Look to incorporate any online resources to add to your groups digital poster. You
       will need to use Google Earth to include topographical information to this poster.
       Download Goodle Earth for free at (
    Additional Resources to include in the presentation may include a cartoon that
       relates to the concept of earthquakes. Use the free online resource at construct your cartoon and add it as part of the
     You may want to refer to additional online resources for more information:

Social Studies-
   o Day One- give a blank world map marked with lines of latitude and longitude, the
       students will mark locations of earthquakes of magnitude 1 or higher over the last
       seven days on the map. Students will either be given the website to After they are finished with the map, they
       will describe any patterns that they see in the map. After the discussion of the
       patterns, students will watch the sections “Plate Tectonics” and “Earthquakes”
       from the video Continents Adrift: An Introduction To Continental Drift and Plate
       Tectonics. They will then briefly discuss why most earthquakes in the USA
       happen in California.
   o Day Two to Four- Following this discussion the students will be given a map with
       cities along the San Andreas Fault to choose from. They will then pick a town to
       place the building that was designed in Science class. They will complete their
       research and include the information from Appendix B in their presentation.
   o Day Five- Students will gather information from the USGS website to make a
       specialized map indicating the frequency of earthquakes all over the USA. They
       will create a scale and place each state in a category based on the number of
       earthquakes they have each year. After the map is complete, the students will
       review why more earthquakes happen in some certain areas.

Pass Objectives Met in this Activity:
Language Arts:

Standard 4: Literature: The student will read, construct meaning, and respond to a wide variety of
literary forms.

Read and respond to grade-level-appropriate historically or culturally significant works of
literature that reflect and enhance a study of history and social science. Clarify the ideas and
connect them to other literary works. Participate in self-directed work teams to create observable

1. Literary Genres - The student will demonstrate a knowledge of and an appreciation for various
forms of literature.

a. Analyze the characteristics of genres, including short story, novel, drama, lyric poetry,
nonfiction, historical fiction, and informational texts.

b. Identify and distinguish characteristics of subgenres, including autobiography, biography,
fable, folk tale, mystery, myth, limericks, tall tales, and plays.
Standard 5: Research and Information: The student will conduct research and organize information.

1. Accessing Information - Select the best source for a given purpose, locate information relevant to
research questioning.

a. Access information from a variety of primary and secondary sources, including electronic text, experts,
and prime resources, to locate information relevant to research questioning.

c. Use organizational strategies to learn and recall important ideas from texts, such as preview, questions,
reread, and record, as an aid to comprehend increasingly difficult content material.

2. Interpreting Information - Analyze and evaluate information from a variety of sources.

c. Identify and credit the sources used to gain information (e.g., bibliographies, footnotes, appendix).

d. Identify and apply test-taking strategies by answering different types and levels of questions, such as
open-ended, literal, and interpretive as well as test-like questions, such as multiple choice, true/false, and
short answer.

e. Interpret and use graphic sources of information such as maps, graphs, timelines, or tables to address
research questions.

Standard 1: Writing Process - The student will use the writing process to write coherently.

2. Use details, examples, reasons, and evidence to develop an idea.

4. Use precise word choices, including figurative language, that convey specific meaning and tone. 6. Edit
for errors in Standard English usage, sentence structure, mechanics, and spelling.

6. Edit for errors in Standard English usage, sentence structure, mechanics, and spelling.

Standard 2: Modes and Forms of Writing - The student will write for a variety of purposes and audiences
using narrative, descriptive, expository, persuasive, and reflective modes.

3. Write persuasive/argumentative compositions that:

a. include a well-defined thesis that makes a clear and knowledgeable appeal.

b. present detailed evidence, examples, and reasoning to support effective arguments and emotional appeal.

c. provide details, reasons, and examples, arranging them effectively by anticipating and answering reader
concerns and counterarguments.

Standard 3: Grammar/Usage and Mechanics: The student will demonstrate appropriate practices in writing
by applying grammatical knowledge to the revising and editing stages of writing.

1. Standard English Usage - Demonstrate correct use of Standard English in speaking and writing.

a. Use the principal parts of verbs and progressive verb forms.

b. Make subjects and verbs agree.
c. Use nominative, objective, and possessive pronouns correctly.

d. Make pronouns agree with their antecedents.

e. Use correct pronoun reference.

f. Correctly form and use the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives.

g. Identify and use appositives and appositive phrases.

h. Use infinitives, gerunds, and participles to vary sentence structure in writing.

i. Correctly use conjunctions for coordination and subordination.

j. Distinguish commonly confused words (e.g., there, their, they're; two, to, too; accept, except; affect,

2. Mechanics and Spelling - Demonstrate appropriate language mechanics in writing.

a. Apply the capitalization rules appropriately in writing.

b. Punctuate correctly in writing, including:

i. Commas

ii. Quotation marks

iii. Apostrophes

iv. Colons

v. Conventions of letter writing

c. Distinguish correct spelling of commonly misspelled words and homonyms.

3. Sentence Structure - Demonstrate appropriate sentence structure in writing.

a. Correct sentence run-ons and fragments.

b. Correct dangling and misplaced modifiers.

c. Differentiate between dependent and independent clauses.

d. Write simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences.

Standard 1: Listening - The student will listen for information and for pleasure.

1. Identify the major ideas and supporting evidence in informative and persuasive messages.

2. Listen in order to identify and discuss topic, purpose, and perspective.
3. Recognize and understand barriers to effective listening (i.e., internal and external distractions, personal
biases, and conflicting demands).

4. Evaluate the spoken message in terms of content, credibility, and delivery.

*Standard 2: Speaking - The student will express ideas and opinions in group or individual situations.

1. Analyze purpose, audience, and occasion and consider this information in planning an effective
presentation or response.

3. Communicate oral presentations to the class using appropriate delivery (volume, rate, enunciation, and

4. Use level-appropriate vocabulary in speech (e.g., metaphorical language, sensory details, or specialized

5. Adjust message wording and delivery according to particular audience and purpose.

Visual Literacy: The student will interpret, evaluate, and compose visual messages.

*Standard 3: Compose Visual Messages - The student will create a visual message that effectively
communicates an idea.

1. Produce visual images, messages, and meanings that communicate with others.

2. Use media forms to create a visual message that will compare and contrast ideas and points of view.


Process Standard 4: Connections

1. Apply mathematical strategies to solve problems that arise from other disciplines and the real world.

Standard 2: Number Sense - The student will use numbers and number relationships to solve problems.

b. Use the basic operations on rational numbers to solve problems in real-life situations (e.g., describe the
effect of multiplying whole numbers by a fraction or a decimal less than 1).

Standard 5: Data Analysis and Statistics - The student will use data analysis and statistics to interpret data
in a variety of contexts.

1. Select and apply appropriate formats (e.g., line plots, bar graphs, stem-and-leaf plots, scatter plots,
histograms, circle graphs) to display collected data.


Process Standard 3: Experiment - Experimenting is a method of discovering information. It requires
making observations and measurements to test ideas. The student will accomplish these objectives to meet
this process standard.

*1. Ask questions about the world and design investigations that lead to scientific inquiry.
2. Evaluate the design of a scientific investigation.

3. Identify variables and/or controls in an experimental setup: independent (tested/ experimental) variable
and dependent (measured) variable.

*4. Identify a testable hypothesis for an experiment.

*5. Design and conduct experiments.

6. Recognize potential hazards and practice safety procedures in all science activities.

Process Standard 4: Interpret and Communicate - Interpreting is the process of recognizing patterns in
collected data by making inferences, predictions, or conclusions. Communicating is the process of
describing, recording, and reporting experimental procedures and results to others. Communication may be
oral, written, or mathematical and includes organizing ideas, using appropriate vocabulary, graphs, other
visual representations, and mathematical equations. The student will accomplish these objectives to meet
this process standard.

*1. Report data in an appropriate method when given an experimental procedure or data.

2. Interpret data tables, line, bar, trend and/or circle graphs.

3. Evaluate data to develop reasonable explanations, and/or predictions.

*4. Accept or reject hypotheses when given results of an investigation.

*5. Communicate scientific procedures and explanations.

Process Standard 5: Inquiry - Inquiry can be defined as the skills necessary to carry out the process of
scientific or systemic thinking. In order for inquiry to occur, students must have the opportunity to ask a
question, formulate a procedure, and observe phenomena. The student will accomplish these objectives to
meet this process standard.

*1. Use systematic observations, make accurate measurements, and identify and control variables.

*2. Use technology to gather data and analyze results of investigations.

*3. Review data, summarize data, and form logical conclusions.

*4. Formulate and evaluate explanations proposed by examining and comparing evidence, pointing out
statements that go beyond evidence, and suggesting alternative explanations.

Standard 4: Structures and Forces of the Earth and Solar System - The earth is mostly rock, three-fourths of
its surface is covered by a relatively thin layer of water, and the entire planet is surrounded by a relatively
thin blanket of air, and is able to support life. The student will engage in investigations that integrate the
process standards and lead to the discovery of the following objectives:

1. Landforms result from constructive forces such as crustal deformation, volcanic eruption, and deposition
of sediment and destructive forces such as weathering and erosion.
Standard 5: Earth's History - The Earth’s history involves periodic changes in the structures of the earth
over time. The student will engage in investigations that integrate the process standards and lead to the
discovery of the following objectives:

1. Earth’s history has been punctuated by occasional catastrophic events, such as the impact of asteroids or
comets, enormous volcanic eruptions, periods of continental glaciation, and the rise and fall of sea level.

Social Studies

Standard 1: The student will develop and practice process skills in social studies.

2. Identify, analyze, and interpret primary and secondary sources, such as artifacts, diaries, letters,
photographs, art, documents, newspapers, and contemporary media (e.g., television, motion pictures, and
computer-based technologies) that reflect events and life in United States history.

4. Locate on a United States map major physical features, bodies of water, exploration and trade routes, and
the states that entered the Union up to 1877.

5. Interpret economic and political issues as expressed in maps, tables, diagrams, charts, political cartoons,
and economic graphs.

*Standard 2: The student will develop skills in discussion, debate, and persuasive writing by analyzing
historical situations and events.

*1. Read, write, and present a variety of products, such as tables, charts, graphs, maps, reports, letters,
computer presentations, checklists, resumes, brochures, pamphlets, and summaries.


Standard 3: The student will demonstrate knowledge of technology productivity tool.

2. Use technology tools (e.g., multimedia authoring, presentation, Web tools, digital cameras, scanners) for
individual and collaborative writing, communication, and publishing activities to create knowledge
products for audiences inside and outside the classroom.

Standard 4: The student will demonstrate knowledge of technology communications tools.

1. Design, develop, publish, and present products (e.g., Web pages, videotapes) using technology resources
that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside and outside the classroom.

2. Collaborate with peers, experts, and others using telecommunications and collaborative tools to
investigate curriculum-related problems, issues, and information, and to develop solutions or products for
audiences inside and outside the classroom.

Standard 5: The student will demonstrate knowledge of technology research tools.

Use content-specific tools, software, and simulations (e.g., environmental probes, graphing calculators,
exploratory environments, Web tools) to support learning and research.
3. Collaborate with peers, experts, and others using telecommunications and collaborative tools to
investigate curriculum-related problems, issues, and information, and to develop solutions or products for
audiences inside and outside the classroom.

Standard 6: The student will demonstrate knowledge of technology problem-solving and decision-making

1. Apply productivity/multimedia tools and peripherals to support personal productivity, group
collaboration, and learning throughout the curriculum.

2. Design, develop, publish, and present products (e.g., Web pages, videotapes) using technology resources
that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside and outside the classroom.
                             Appendix A

Materials                          Cost
5 Popsicle sticks                  $2.00
2 Sugar cubes                      $.50
3 Pipe cleaners                    $.75
Tootsie Rolls                      $.65
Mints                              $.50
¼ Paper sheet                      $1.00

                    Total Building Cost
Material              Cost x Quantity      Total Cost (Running Total)
                                      Appendix B

After you choose your building design, you need to choose a city. Using the map on this
website (, pick a city.
YOU GET TOO FAR INTO THIS!! Each of these cities on this map are located within
100 miles of the San Andreas Fault and experience earthquakes on a fairly regular basis.
Your presentation needs to include the following information:

   o   Population of the city (needs to be at least 100,000)
   o   Population Density
   o   Location (latitude and longitude!!!)
   o   Climate information (average temperature, precipitation, and wind speed)
   o   Distance to nearest airport
   o   Average number of earthquakes a year
   o   Average intensity of earthquakes
   o   Explain why your team chose this city
   o   Discuss why your group thinks population is dense despite the earthquake danger
                                       Appendix C

                              Earthquake Project Reflection

The purpose of this reflection is for you to explain your understanding of the causes of
earthquakes and the economic and social implications of this natural phenomenon.

What was the Earthquake Activity about and how does it relate to you understanding of
plate tectonics?

 Describe your team (members’ names), the materials used, and the methods you sused to
design your structure. (This is where the scientific principles and mathematical principles
used would be described.)

Describe the results of your design. (This would be where you would bring in the science
and math that allowed you accomplish your teams goals.)

Discuss the success of your Earthquake Resistant structure based on the variables in
which you were working. (Did team issues facilitate or hinder your success?)

How do the results of your Earthquake Resistant Structure help your overall
understanding of plate tectonics and the causes of earthquakes?
                               Appendix D

                       Points to Graph

Group 1: (3, 2) (4, 2) (-5, 1) (0, 0)

Group 2: (1, 4) (3, 4) (3, 3) (6, 2)

Group 3: (6, 5) (4, 3) (2, 2) (5, 1)

Group 4: (4, 1) (6, 6) (1, 1) (7, 3)
                                           Appendix E
                                        (pre-test/post test)
                                                                        ID Number: ___________

                              How Much Quake Can You Take?

  Solve the following problems:

1. The waves of energy from earthquakes that travel through Earth are called

  a. earthquake waves                              c. gap waves
  b. transform waves                               d. seismic waves

2. The epicenter of an earthquake is the point on Earth’s surface

  a. directly below the focus                      c. above the seismic gap
  b. directly above the earthquake’s focus         d. where the damage is lightest

3. The strength of an earthquake is determined by the
  a. type of fault on which it occurs             c. amount of damage it causes
  b. gap hypothesis                               d. amount of ground motion

4. Which of the following is NOT a kind of technology used to construct earthquake-resistant

  a. tectonic plate                                c. mass damper
  b. cross brace                                   d. base isolator

5. Primary seismic waves

  a. are slower than secondary waves               c. can travel through solids, liquids, and gases
  b. are the result of shearing forces in rock     d. cause Earth’s surface to roll up and down

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