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Active Time
20-30 minutes
Total Project Time
20-30 minutes
Key Concepts
Earthquakes, mass, vibration

Introduction

Scientists study earthquakes so we can understand them better and hopefully one day predict them so we can save thousands of lives. A seismograph is a tool scientists use to record earthquakes and measure their strength. In this activity you will build your own seismograph using simple materials.

Credits

Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,200 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

Materials

  • Medium-sized cardboard box
  • Paper or plastic cup
  • String
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Paper, or a very long printed receipt from a store
  • Tape
  • Coins, marbles, small rocks, or other small, heavy objects to use as weights
  • Another person to help
    Materials required to build homemade seismograph.

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Active Time
20-30 minutes
Total Project Time
20-30 minutes
Key Concepts
Earthquakes, mass, vibration