K-12 Education and Public Outreach
Capturing a student's innate curiosity for natural phenomena in the world around them and transforming this enthusiasm into a meaningful learning experience is the greatest challenge of any science teacher. The challenge of the educational system, on the other hand, is to provide its teachers with the resources and training necessary to seize these opportunities within the confines of their curriculum and classroom structures. Earthquakes, by virtue of their awesome power, their unpredictability, and the broad, sometimes tragic, impact they can have on the daily lives of people, have tremendous potential to capture the attention of students of all ages. The hidden power of earthquakes is that this enthusiasm can be used as a platform from which a wealth of fundamental principles of physics and earth sciences can be taught. This is especially true in South Carolina because of its history of and susceptibility to earthquake activity.
We have an active program in Educational Seismology to enable the integration of seismological observations and information into middle-school and high-school education. Our efforts focus on: 1) Developing software resources that provide teachers and students with easy access to seismograms after significant global earthquakes; 2) Providing teachers with professional development opportunities to improve their abilities to use these resources and their overall skills in earth and physical science concepts; and 3) Participation in outreach programs for at-risk students to increase their awareness, enthusiasm, and skills in science.