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A fantastic measuring activity for earthquake epicenters. Students first learn that seismographs from three different locations are needed in order to find the location of an epicenter. Based on the differences in P and S wave arrival times, students read the distance from the epicenter from a distance/time graph. They then use a map scale to draw circles around each of the three cities with the correct radii to find the epicenter. The activity requires the availability of compasses to draw the circles.

This packet includes quality document camera-ready images and notes that will enable you to model the activity for your students. The resource actually provides two separate activities, one for a west coast earthquake and one for an east coast quake earthquake. The student data tables, maps, and distance graphs are provided for both as is a grading rubric for the activity.

In addition, you also get a Who-am-I review worksheet on the topic of earthquakes. The answer key is included.


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    Dr. David PurvisAfter obtaining a PhD in Microbiology, I switched careers and became a middle school and elementary science teacher because I loved kids. Almost thirty years later I have taught science in some context to every grade level from pre-K to college education classes. My store offers rigorous resources that align meaningful content, an inquiry approach, NGSS standards, and student interest.


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