Essays on Science and SocietyIBI* Series Winner

Engaging Students in Earthquakes via Real-Time Data and Decisions

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Science  29 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6089, pp. 1654-1655
DOI: 10.1126/science.1214293

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The topic of earthquakes appears in virtually all introductory undergraduate geoscience courses. Most students entering these courses already have some knowledge of earthquakes and why they occur, but that knowledge often derives from the most recent event in the news and can therefore be biased toward the most destructive earthquakes (1). In addition, students arrive at college with misconceptions (2, 3), perhaps picked up from erroneous or poorly presented media coverage. These misconceptions can go unchecked or even be reinforced by introductory textbooks, most of which contain errors and oversimplifications about earthquake processes (3, 4).