Pasta Quake Magnitude Grades 6 - 8

This activity uses pieces of spaghetti to illustrate the earthquake magnitude scale.  While completing an activity using bundles of spaghetti, students will discover the difference in magnitudes of earthquakes from a magnitude 5 to a magnitude 9.   A magnitude 8 can be demonstrated as well, but takes bit more preparation work.  The earthquake in Japan in 2011 which created the tsunami that travelled across the Pacific Ocean, as described in Kamome, was a magnitude 9.1.  The  Pasta Quake video https://www.iris.edu/hq/inclass/video/pasta_quake_modeling_magnitude_scale_using_spaghetti demonstrates a magnitude5, 6, 7, 8 and a magnitude 9 earthquake.  This exercise also introduces the concept of duration as a way to estimate earthquake magnitude.   Allow 50 minutes of class time for the activity and an additional 60 minutes of preparation.

Age Group: 
6-8

  

 

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