- Associated Press - Saturday, March 15, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Representatives from University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute converted kids’ energy into seismic waves last weekend.

The Geophysical Institute teamed up with Fairbanks Children's Museum to teach kids about one of Alaska’s most common natural occurrences - earthquakes. The program took place as one of the museum’s bimonthly “Super Sunday” events, in which different nonprofit and educational organizations visit the museum to teach kids about topics, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1hcVkNT) reported.

The Geophysical Institute’s event was timed to educate kids about earthquakes just in time for the looming 50th anniversary of the Good Friday Earthquake approaches on March 27.

“We live in a very earthquake active region,” said research technician Sharon Hansen. “No matter where you are in Alaska you are in a place where earthquakes will happen.”

On top of just general awareness, the scientists wanted to teach kids about how and why earthquakes happen so they could understand what they have likely experienced.

“And it’s not necessarily something to be afraid of,” said Lea Gardine, a public relations associate with the institute.

Gardine and Hansen taught kids earthquake-related topics ranging from seismology to plate tectonics to the different kinds of P-waves and S-waves. They brought a large felt board with a world map, cut into each of the major tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust, a large slinky tool to demonstrate different wave types and even a seismometer that kids could jump near to see the direct effect of their movement.

“In different venues it’s a little more hands-off cause kids don’t know if they’re allowed to touch it,” Hansen said. “So, in the children’s museum this has been awesome. None of the kids have hesitated to come and be like, ‘what’s this? What’s that?’ and interact.”

The Fairbanks Children's Museum has been operating out of the Museum of the North throughout the winter and will continue through April. It holds Super Sunday events twice each month on the second and fourth Sundays of the month.

Though the museum is still in search of a permanent location, in the summer the museum will host programs Monday nights at the downtown market as well as “pop-up” playground programs where the museum will bring exhibits to different playgrounds around Fairbanks, announcing the location of each event through email blasts shortly before they occur. The museum also plans to host summer camps.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com



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