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Locating an Earthquake Epicenter

Name: Lucas Maechler School: York International

Grade Level: 9-12 Number of Students in Class: 25-35
Unit: Earthquakes Lesson Duration: 52 Minutes
Day, Date, and Time of Lesson: September 26, 2018

Standard: HS-PS4-1 - Use mathematical representations to support a claim regarding relationships

among the frequency, wavelength, and speed of waves traveling in various media.

2. Objective(s): By the end of the lesson, students will be able to identify the location of an
earthquake epicenter using a time travel graph and three seismographic tracings.

3. Learning Target(s): I can locate the epicenter of an earthquake using triangulation techniques.

4. Assessment: Completed maps, data tables, and assessment questions

5. Materials: Paper, drawing compass, time travel graph

6. Essential Questions or Big Picture Statement:

How can scientists use deductive reasoning to infer results from data tables? What are some of the
challenges scientists face when studying and attempting to predict natural hazards?

7. Introduction/Anticipatory Set: Introductory video to the triangulation process:

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8. Step by Step

1. Roll (1 minute)
2. Instructional video: this video shows the general principals regarding the overlapping
of circles during triangulation the position of an epicenter. (4 minutes; other

3. Modeling: “this video has just shown us how the overlapping of circles can help us
pinpoint the precise location of an earthquake’s epicenter, but how do we determine
how big to make our circles?” direct students towards materials in middle of desks.
In order to determine the distance of the seismometer from the epicenter, we must first
determine the s-p time interval.

Direct students’ attentions to the seismographs located in their folders. Using an

example problem, show how the distance between the s and p waves correlates to a
specific distance on the time travel graph. Explain this thoroughly for each of your 3
example seismographs, especially the time travel curve. Explain what each of the lines
mean, why one is steeper than the others, and what it is telling us. Try to keep this
section interesting by being enthusiastic. Students won’t want to sit for too long with
this one. (15 minutes; Direct Instruction / Modeling)

4. Do frequent check in’s with students for understanding. Fist to fives at each step of this
triangulation process. (Check for Understanding)

5. The last part of this lesson is to give the students time to work. It will most likely take
them the rest of the period to finish this. Move around the room and check for
understanding. Also make sure that students are on task and understand what the
objectives are. (Independent practice; 32 Min)

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