NEES NEES

Outreach

Summer Seismic Methods Workshop
July 11-13, 2011

Seismic waves are widely used in many applied science and engineering studies. They have determined Earth's composition and structure (core, mantle, and crust); they are the principal tool for finding oil and gas; they measure the strength and properties of building sites for dams, bridges, and buildings; and they are used to find small imperfections in concrete and steel structures and airplane wings. Basic principles of seismic methods are the same regardless of spatial scale.

With NSF support, NEES@UTexas in partnership with Texas Earth and Space Science Revolution (TXESS Revolution) presented a 3-day geophysics/seismology workshop for high school teachers. This was held in conjunction with an "Engineering Geology" class taken by engineering graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin.

School teachers are experts in designing course materials that are appropriate for their classes. At Universities, our curricula are designed for undergraduate and graduate students. The idea is to show middle/high school teachers what we do and assist them to use the materials in their classes.

The three-day workshop included field seismic imaging (Day 1), field shear wave velocity measurements for geotechnical earthquake engineering design (Day 2), and data reduction and science curriculum design (Day 3). Graduate students were teamed up with high school teachers for the field tests. This type of collaboration was intended to promote the teachers' familiarity with technology important to many geophysics and engineering careers. On the third day, the teachers worked together to develop exercises for high school classes based on the seismic field-work. The curricula are posted on the NEES@UTexas and NEESacademy websites and will be available to all high school teachers.

Day 1: Field Reflection and Refraction Survey

Workshop participants conducted a field reflection and refraction survey on the grounds of the UT Austin campus. Data reduction theory and practice was demonstrated using the acquired data.

Laying out sensors

Laying out sensors

Getting ready for the hammer

Getting ready for the hammer

Reviewing data in the field

Reviewing data in the field

Classroom data reduction

Classroom data reduction using screenshot printout

Day 2: Field SASW Survey

Participants performed a field Spectral Analyses of Surface Wave (SASW) Survey using a sledgehammer source. Classroom sessions addressed SASW data reduction and Sensors and Instrumentation, and a demonstration of the NEES@UTexas T-Rex tri-axial shaker truck was conducted.

Field Spectral Analyses of Surface Wave (SASW) Survey

Field Spectral Analyses of Surface Wave (SASW) survey

Classroom data reduction using screenshot printout

Classroom data reduction using screenshot printout

Visiting NEES@UTexas equipment site facilities

Visiting NEES@UTexas equipment site facilities

Day 3: Classroom Presentation Development

In consultation with engineering graduate students, participants developed classroom presentations, exercises, and associated materials promoting earthquake engineering and seismology education for middle and high school classes.

Teresa Milliger classroom exercise
Classroom exercise by
Ms. Teresa Milliger

Teacher Name Presentation
Michael Brunt Seismic Methods (PPTX, 1.8MB)
Jack Cooper Reading Waves (PPTX, 4.7MB)
Lee Keyes Demonstration Model (PPTX, 124K)
Kelvin Kibler Earth and Space Science (PPTX, 685K)
Teresa Milliger Dynamic Earth project (DOC, 169K)
Dynamic Earth follow-up overview (PPTX, 59K)
Dynamic Earth follow-up task (DOCX, 17K)
Linda Oldham NEES Lesson (PPTX, 58K)
Catherine Ryan Plate Tectonics and Earthquakes (PPT, 35MB)
Patricia Thomason Lessons in Seismology (PPT, 2.6MB)

Assessments

The workshop is a great success. A total of 6 graduate engineering students and 9 middle/high school teachers participated in the workshop. The format of combining graduate students with school teachers appears to be very effective. As all the teachers were majored in science, engineering students helped to add engineering flavor to the presentation material.

2011 Seismic Workshop Preliminary Report (PDF, 1.1MB)