The students have learned that earthquakes emit energy
in the form of seismic waves. These seismic waves travel through the Earth,
rocks, water, buildings and almost any other substance or structure. We
experience shaking during an earthquake because we are surrounded by these
substances or structures.
Understanding how the release of energy causes so much
damage is difficult. People who do not have a scientific background may not
fully realize how the Earth could cause such disasters. When people do not
know the facts, many times they develop their own stories or myths of why
such an event may happen. Myths are usually based on a little accurate
information, and much exaggeration.
- You may want to reinforce the concepts students explored in lab with a
jell-O demonstration. Demonstrate the travel of energy waves by tapping
the side of a slab of jell-O (any color will do). Vary the strength of
your taps to show the class how different amounts of energy change the
amount of shaking.
- The students have seen that the movement of the Earth's crust causes
earthquakes. They now know that earthquakes produce energy in the form
of waves. A common question that comes up, both with children and
adults, is "why does the Earth's surface crack during an
earthquake?" A full explanation of this is difficult, especially if
no one in the discussion has a scientific background. In ancient times,
people would create myths to try and explain what was actually
happening. In this exercise, the students will write their own myth to
explain the cracking and shaking of the Earth caused by earthquakes.
- The Geos Myth activity can help illustrate how the Earth's surface
breaks due to pressure. Emphasize with the students that they are going
to create a myth that is based on some scientific information, but is
not necessarily true. Explain that this kind of explanation was common
in ancient times, before the development of modern science.
- Read the introduction of the worksheet to the class. It is included
below as a presentation, along with the image of Geos.
- After you are sure the students understand the reading, have them
write their own myth. Have them try to use information from the previous
labs. Point out that they are to be creative. Explain that myths
sometimes contain some truth, but myths are not always true. The main
point that the students should develop in their storyline is that
pressure building up inside the Earth causes earthquakes. If Geos can
become liquid, then the cracks in the Earth can also become volcanoes
and Geos can escape. Note that the cracking of the Earth can signify
earthquakes as well as volcanoes.