Science Club Week 6 Earthquake Waves – Body Waves, Surface Waves + Annelids/Platyhelminthes

In Week 6 of our Science Club, we reviewed what we had learned about vibrations. Then we went on to talk about the different types of Body Waves (those waves within the Earth) and Surface Waves (those that move along the surface of the earth).

We went over what they were and how they move.  Then did some hands-on activities to help explain why some waves move faster than others. Below is the notebook page they added to their science notebooks (these are included in our Earth Science Packet).

Earthquake Waves WorksheetsHands-On Activity – Earthquakes Waves

Learning about the different types of earthquake wavesEnergy doesn’t just stay where the slip or break occurs.  It starts to migrate and move.  We talked about some of these vibrations and showed what happens as the waves move outward using slinkies! I bought a 12-pack of plastic springs toys  (affiliate link) that worked perfectly (as you can see from the picture above).  It was $9.99 for the box of 12.

I’ll explain how we used them below!


Different types of waves:

Give the students a Slinky.  Have them try making P-waves and S-waves as they consider which wave appear to move faster, the P-waves or the S-waves?

P-wave Primary waves

To make a P-wave have the kids stretch the Slinky out.  Move the left hand straight towards the right, then move it back out.  Those are similar to P-waves:

  • Move just one hand straight toward the other quickly (forward and backward).
  • You can see the waves moving back and forth.

P-waves are compressional waves. They travel faster than other waves (almost 2x faster than S-waves)Earthquake P-Waves with a slinkyTo make a S-wave have the kids stretch the Slinky out.  Move the left hand back and forth perpendicular to the Slinky.

S-wave Secondary waves

Move one hand perpendicular to the stretched slinky.

I found it worked better if we stretched the slinky out quite a bit.

S-wave activityThese are also called shear waves. They displace the ground perpendicular to the direction of the propagation. They only travel through solids.  These are slower than P-waves.

After doing the activity we looked at how that would affect the ground movement (notebook page below).

These notebook pages are included in our Earth Science Packet.

Faults Earthquake Waves WorksheetsWe then moved on to our Taxonomy & Scientific Classification Unit

Before diving into our next topic, the students all used the labels and pictures to fill in the domain/kingdom/phylum charts. We did this most every week as review. 🙂 This week we also did the phylum tic-tac-toe game as a review (not shown).

Taxonomy and Classification Activity - Domain Kingdom PhylumThis week we talked quite about Annelids – segmented worms – ie. earthworms!

The week before we talked about the digestive system of the planaria (flatworms) and earthworms.  We talked about the important role earthworms play in the environment. We watched a short video about earthworms and then talked about their role in aerating the soil.  We went out to the veggie garden and the kids easily found earthworms at the surface, just under the grass mulch.

Earthworms-annelidsWe also talked about the fact that earthworms play a key role in the decomposition of materials. I gave the kids trowels and we went over to the scrap pile behind our wood pile.  They uncovered some logs and broke them open checking out the earthworms, termites and other critters busy breaking down those logs!

Earthworms-DecomposersWhen we came back in, we compared the digestive system of the flatworms we had been studying all term (phylum: platyhelminthes) to the earthworm (phylum: annelids). (We touched on it the week before, but had run out of time to go into much detail.)  The kids drew pictures of these in their science notebooks:


You can see more details about our Taxonomy & Classification Packet here. . :)

Scientific Classification and Taxonomy Unit for Middle School and early High SchoolClassification and Taxonomy Worksheet PacketScientific Classification and Taxonomy UnitInsect Worksheets - Scientific Classification and TaxonomyScientific Classification and Taxonomy Worksheets - Matching- Notebook Pages

Solar System Projects:

The students had all worked on Solar System projects on their own at home this term.  They shared their final projects with the rest of the club.  They did a phenomenal job!!! One of them did the same hands-on kit called the 4M Solar System Planetarium (affiliate link) that my kids did a few years ago. (pictured lower left) Another did a poster and someone else did a 3-D poster project.  I was really impressed with everyone’s work.  My girls did a solar system mobile, but I actually didn’t get a good photo of that (and I’m too lazy to go take a picture of that right now!) Here are a few of the other projects:

Solar System ProjectsThe also did a mnemonics page for the planets of the solar system

  • in order from the sun
  • and by size

Kitty enjoyed that page too!

olar System Mnemonics page

Our Engineering Project this week was Straw Rockets:

I had different size straws, index cards, and lots of tape ready for them.  They had to create a rocket that would travel the farthest (when blowing through the smaller one).  I didn’t give the kids many instructions or examples. I wanted them to see what they could come up with!

There was one boy whose rocket went three times farther than any of the rest of ours!!  He sure did something right! 🙂

Straw Rockets Engineering Challenge

See the other Science Club weeks here:

  • Science Club Week 1: Characteristics of Good Scientists, Layers of the Earth
  • Science Club Week 2: Plate tectonics, taxonomy, mealworms and flatworms
  • Science Club Week 3: Taxonomy and Classification, Engineering Challenge
  • Science Club Week 4: Understanding Convection Currents, Taxonomy, Engineering Challenge
  • Science Club Week 5: Earthquake Vibrations, Platyhelminthes – Annelids (flatworms and earthworms)
  • Science Club Week 6: Earthquake Waves (Body and Surface Waves);
  • Science Club Week 7: Plate Boundaries, Observation and Dissection (Crabs – Clams/Oysters)
  • Science Club Week 8

So, that was it for Week 6. Someone was asking how long our science club lasts each week.  It is an hour and a half. That has been just about perfect!

If you are interested in some of the science units we’ve done over the past couple of years, you might enjoy looking through one of these posts:
Homeschool Science 2016 Year in Review

Science Units Hands-On Activities Homeschool Curriculum Units
Science Year in Review 2016-2017 (Grades 8, 6, 3)

Science Homeschool Year in Review

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Homeschool Den StoreHappy Homeschooling, everyone!!  ~Liesl

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