The Seismology in Schools program aims to further engagement and interest in the geosciences and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) for rural Alaskan middle and high school students. We do this by introducing students to real-time earth observation, teaching them to track and understand the dynamic world around them by utilizing sensor networks and real-time remote data collection. The program is comprised of two major components: (1) a student-maintained network of seismographs in schools; (2) an extracurricular online “Earth Observation Club”.
School Seismograph Network
Participating schools host Raspberry Shakes (low-cost, hobbyist-grade earthquake sensors). Students and teachers then use the live seismic data feed for classroom activities, projects, and general ground-motion monitoring. The map below displays sites that participate in the Seismology in Schools program.
T3 Earth Observation Club
This extracurricular academic club, a partnership with the Alaska Teaching Through Technology (T3) Alliance, provides the opportunity for interested middle and high school students from rural Alaska to develop knowledge and technical skills in geophysical sensor deployment, data collection, and interpretation, all while participating in a statewide group of engaged peers. At their schools, students meet in-person to monitor their sensors and participate community projects. The larger, statewide club meets virtually once per week and stays connected continuously via the online communication platform Discord. Club members monitor and maintain their school seismographs, spread seismic literacy with their communities and peers, and engage with additional educational opportunities, such as those highlighted below.
School Spotlight: Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurviat (Quinhagak)
If students in Mr. Dorsey's Highschool Geology class weren't already awake the morning of Tuesday, November 16th, 2021 they sure were after their 8:30am "STOMPQUAKE" activity to kick-off ASeiS's presentation that morning. Quinhagak is a small (~700 population), majority Yup'ik community situated on the lower Kuskokwim bay in Southwestern Alaska. After school, students crowded into Mr. Dorsey's classroom to assist with the permanent installation of their new RS4D seismograph, which, after a bit of network troubleshooting, came online.
Now, Quinhagak has an active Earth Observation and have expanded their sensor network to include a weather station, air quality sensor, and soil temperature monitoring systems.
In the News
Alaskan students monitor earthquake activity with new devices - Alaska's News Source
UAF student gets K-12 classrooms jumping with seismology project - UAF Geophysical Institute News
Students Share their Earthquake Research at UAF - Fairbanks News Miner
Students from Across Alaska Work Together to Address problems in their Communities - Fairbanks News Miner
Earthquake Center Web Stories
Alaska Seismology in Schools is an AEC-led collaboration with the Alaska T3 Alliance program. The Alaska T3 Alliance program is an organization that provides community-focused STEM education tools and training to educators around Alaska and has existing partnerships with schools and communities that already have experience with the Raspberry Pi technology and T3 Alliance teaching model. ASeiS is partnering with existing T3 Alliance sites around Alaska to streamline the implementation of the ASeiS seismographs and curriculum and build upon the existing STEM knowledge.
Technology - The Raspberry Shake Seismograph
As its name suggests, the Raspberry Shake seismograph is no regular earthquake sensor. Based upon the widely-used single-board Raspberry Pi computer, Raspberry Shake seismographs, or "shakes" as they often referred to, are low-cost, hobbyist-grade, plug-and-play seismometers that have become popular with seismology hobbyists and citizen scientists as an accessible, easy solution for monitoring ground motion and detecting earthquakes in their homes, offices, or, increasingly, classrooms. Raspberry Shakes were chosen for the ASeiS program in particular because of the publicly available browser-based visualization software which allows for easy access to real-time data streams.
If you are interested in the Seismology in Schools program, we would love to hear from you! Please reach out to Gabriel Low, ASeiS Project Lead, at email@example.com.
This project is a collaboration between the Alaska Earthquake Center and the Alaska T3 Alliance Program. It is supported by the UAF Geophysical Detection of Nuclear Proliferation University Affiliated Research Center (GNDP UARC).