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Can you use things around your house or the hardware store to design your own seismograph to record earthquakes? Try building it to see if it would work. A good design should

  • not do anything when there’s no vibration
  • be able to record even small vibrations, like if you jump up and down next to it

Can you also make the seismograph tell you what direction the vibration is coming from? How about telling you how strong the vibrations were?

Build your own seismograph

Hint: one way to start is to hang a pen from a string so that it won’t move, with the tip just touching a piece of paper.

More about Earthquakes
More about ancient Chinese Seismographs

Bibliography and further reading about Chinese science:

Science in Ancient China, by George Beshore (1998). .

The Joy of Pi, by David Blatner (1999). It’s not all about ancient China, but some of it is. For teenagers.

Ancient China: 2,000 Years of Mystery and Adventure to Unlock and Discover (Treasure Chest), by Chao-Hui Jenny Liu (1996). Lots of activities , including a Chinese calligraphy set.

Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, by Charles Seife and Matt Zimet (2000).

Chinese science
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