8. Student Projects and Presentations

The lab exercises you have been doing this semester were developed as part of the Boston College Educational Seismology Project (BC-ESP). The BC-ESP brings inquiry-based learning to students of a wide range of ages through investigation of earthquakes recorded by seismographs in K-12 and college classrooms.

Seismology offers opportunities for teaching students about the nature of scientific inquiry and many important scientific concepts. Our educational seismic network currently consists of seismographs located in K-12 schools, as well as at the Boston College campus and at Weston Observatory (a research laboratory of the Boston College Department of Geology and Geophysics).

Having their own seismograph in the classroom gives students a way of collecting real-world data and making measurements that provide them with an understanding of the internal structure of the Earth and processes by which the Earth changes. The exercises associated with these in-class seismographs are intended to teach students not only about seismology and earthquakes, but also about geology, plate tectonics, volcanoes, and mountain building, as well as about how the forces of nature shape the Earth’s surface. Furthermore, our BC-ESP curriculum also teaches students about various aspects of physics, such as energy, mechanics, and waves, and encourages a culture of inquiry in science, technology and mathematics education.

We are asking for your input on how well these exercises work, and how to best use these exercises to encourage a culture of scientific inquiry in K-12 and college classrooms. Thus, as a semester project for this course, we are asking you to give a presentation at the end of the semester on one of the following:

(1) Choose one of the lab exercises we did this semester, and describe aspects of that lab that worked well for teaching science, as well as what did not work so well and how you could improve the lab.

or

(2) Describe an additional lab that you think would be worth doing for this course. This can either be something that you developed yourself, or something that has already been developed by someone else that you think would work for this course. If you use something that was developed by someone else (such as something you found in a lab book or on the Internet) make sure that you reference it and give proper credit as to where it came from.

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