Alaska Seismology in Schools
The Seismology in Schools program aims to further engagement and interest in seismology and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) for rural Alaskan middle and high school students. We do this through introducing students to the interpretation and utility of real-time data streams, empowering them to become ambassadors of seismic literacy in their communities, and encouraging them to pursue STEM career fields, especially in seismology and the geosciences. The program is comprised of four major components: (1) a student-maintained network of seismographs in schools; (2) an extracurricular online “Shake Ambassador Club”; (3) dual college and high school credit opportunities for students; and (4) the "Shake Challenge", a geohazard-themed STEM design competition.
Participating schools host Raspberry Shake seismographs (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.
For more details on participating schools and to access their seismic data feeds, visit our Sites page.
Shake Ambassador Club
This extracurricular academic club provides the opportunity for interested middle and high school students from rural Alaska to be a part of a statewide group of engaged peers, brought together by their curiosity and desire to learn about the geophysical world around them through the lens of seismology. At their schools, students meet in-person with fellow "Shake Ambassadors" to monitor their seismograph and participate in related activities. The larger, statewide club meets virtually bi-monthly and stays connected continuously via the online communication platform Discord. Shake Ambassadors 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.
Shake Challenge Competition and UAF Dual Credit
The Shake Challenge Competition and UAF T3 Seismic Studies course are opportunities for Shake Ambassador club members to join during the school year. The Shake Challenge is a STEM design competition in which teams are challenged to build and present a seismic event alert system using data from their school's Raspberry Shake seismograph. Participants have the option to enroll in a parallel UAF course as an additional learning resource and to gain both college and high school credit. Participants and gain skills in data analysis, networking, programming, app design, and presenting.
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 Shake Ambassador Club and a team participating in the Shake Challenge Design competition
Seismology in Schools 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
Alaska Seismology in Schools is an AEC-led collaboration with the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and the Alaska T3 Alliance program. IRIS is a core collaborator for the ASeiS program. In addition to providing guidance and support with ASeiS curriculum development, IRIS provided critical funding support through their Simpson Innovation Fund award. 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.
Are you interested hosting a Raspberry Shake in your School?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This project is a collaboration between the Alaska Earthquake Center, the Alaska T3 Alliance Program, and the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS).