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Dangerous Earth image
Dangerous Earth
Grade level: 6-8 Subject: Earth Science Duration: Two class periods
 


lesson plan support
Objectives
Students will
  • discuss the experience of the Kobe earthquake described in the Dangerous Earth video;
  • review personal accounts, photographs, and newspaper reports about an historic or recent earthquake; and
  • create a piece of artwork or writing to portray the experience of that earthquake.
Materials
  • Computer with Internet access
  • Print resources about earthquakes
  • Markers, glue, poster board, paint, and other art materials
  • Color printer for printing Web research images (optional)
Procedures
  1. The video uses photographs, video, and scientific and personal accounts to describe the Kobe earthquake of 1995. As a class, brainstorm words, images, and quotes to describe the destruction and experience of this earthquake. Possible answers include: I thought I was going to die, terrifying, flames, state of chaos, expressway fallen on its side, tracks twisted like spaghetti, buildings toppled over, people trapped in homes, horrifying experience.
     
  2. Tell the class that they are going to work in small groups to research an historic or recent earthquake. By finding personal accounts, photographs, and newspaper reports, they will get a close-up picture of what it was like to live through that earthquake and its aftermath. Assign groups to one of these quakes:

    • San Francisco, California (1906)
    • Loma Prieta, California (1989)
    • Hebgen Lake, Montana (1959)
    • Owens Valley, California (1872)
    • New Madrid, MO (1811-1812)
    • Lisbon, Portugal (1755)

  3. Refer students to the relevant Web sites below. These sites include basic information about the earthquake, as well as photographs, newspaper articles, and personal accounts. (The groups may choose to assign a site to each member.) As students conduct their research, encourage them to write down the most vivid quotes from personal accounts or newspaper articles and print out (or describe in writing) the most dramatic photographs or drawings. Give students at least one class period (and perhaps an evening homework assignment) to review these sites, and one class period to share their research with the rest of the group.

    San Francisco, California (1906)

    Loma Prieta, California (1989)

    Hebgen Lake, Montana (1959)

    Owens Valley, California (1872)

  4. After students have shared their research within their groups, ask them to think about the most striking or memorable story, image, quote, or fact about that earthquake. What do they think it was like to live through that earthquake or experience the destruction it caused? Explain that their final assignment is to work individually to create a piece of artwork or writing that portrays the experience of the earthquake they studied. Students might write a poem or an imaginary first-person journal, paint a picture, or create a collage. They may want to focus on that one, striking story, image, or quote from their research. Encourage students to title their work, and include the earthquake?s location and date.
     
  5. Have students display their work in a classroom Earthquake Exhibit.

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Evaluation
Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • Three points:Students were highly engaged in class discussions; shared with their group several relevant, striking images or quotes from their research; created a thoughtful, engaging piece of art or writing clearly based on their group's findings.
  • Two points:Students participated in class discussions; shared with their group a few relevant, striking images or quotes from their research; created a satisfactory piece of art or writing loosely based on their group's findings.
  • One point:Students participated minimally in class discussions; did not share any images or quotes from their research with their group; created a simplistic piece of art or writing with no connections to their group's findings.

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Vocabulary
aftershock
Definition:A minor earthquake following a larger one that occurs at or near the same place
Context:There can be many aftershocks felt after a major earthquake.

earthquake
Definition:A shaking or trembling of Earth that is volcanic or tectonic in nature
Context:The 1995 Kobe earthquake was Japan?s most deadly quake since 1923, when an earthquake in Tokyo killed 140,000 people.

epicenter
Definition:The part of Earth?s surface directly above the focus of an earthquake
Context:The epicenter of the 1995 Kobe earthquake was in a narrow straight between the city of Kobe and Awaji Island.

Richter scale
Definition:A scale for measuring the magnitude of an earthquake; for example, 1.5 indicates the smallest disturbance that can be felt, 4.5 indicates a disturbance that can causes slight damage, and 8.5 indicates a very devastating disturbance.
Context:The 1995 Kobe earthquake measured 6.9 on the Richter scale.

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Standards
The National Science Education Standards provide guidelines for teaching science as well as a coherent vision of what it means to be scientifically literate for students in grades K12. To view the standards, visithttp://books.nap.edu.
 
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
  • Earth and Space Science: Structure of the Earth System
  • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives: Natural hazards

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Credits
Joy Brewster, curriculum writer, editor, and consultant

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