Seismographs in Houston Schools – Students tracking the weather…

DYK that we can track weather patterns using seismographs? When fast winds bring cold weather and rain showers to South Texas, students can observe them on our earthquake instruments! What’s the weather going to be like after school…. let’s take a look with our eyes…. (o) (o)

NASA OPSPARC Competition for grades 3-12

NASA OPSPARC Competition

OPTIMUS PRIME wants you to identify NASA Spinoff technology in your world and test your skills at designing an innovation that will make your universe a better place! By taking on this mission, you will work with technologies that expand our knowledge of galaxies, black holes and other astrophysics-related objects. Just like an engineer, you will use an engineering design process to create your own spinoff that may solve a real-world problem for the stars and beyond. Using a combination of text, images, and videos, you will create a webpage with Adobe Spark for Education to share your ideas with NASA.OPSPARC is open to students in grades 3-12 and submissions are open through December 1, 2019. Learn more on the NASA OPSPARC website.

Comparing Technology While the Earth Moves….in Nicaragua

Comparing Technology While the Earth Moves….in #Nicaragua on November 1, 2019 at 15:24hrs UTC.  This moderate #magnitude M5.3 #earthquake’s epicenter was offshore and ~50kms deep below the sea floor.  Due to its location, the event did not cause damages nor injuries onshore.

The two #seismograms are nearly identical at the scale shown.  The event was recorded in Spring, TX (Station #E1TX, #RAD87) on an EQ-1 and a #RaspberryShake 1D seismograph.  Several wave forms were detected including: P, PP, PPP, S, SS, PCP and PCS.

M5.3 Earthquake in Nicaragua on 11/1/2019 at 15:24 UTC. Seismogram from an EQ1 Seismograph.
M5.3 Earthquake in Nicaragua on 11/1/2019 at 15:24 UTC. Seismogram from a Raspberry Shake Seismograph.
Epicenter of the M5.3 Earthquake in Nicaragua on 11/1/2019 at 15:24 UTC.

What is TxGCP?

TXESP proudly serves as a Regional Representative for TxGCP.
Led by the Women in Engineering Program (WEP) at The University of Texas at Austin along with a Leadership Team and Champions Board, the Texas Girls Collaborative Project (TxGCP) brings together advocates and leaders from non-profits, K-12 schools, higher education institutions, companies and organizations across Texas. Visit them at >>>
The vision of the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) is to bring together organizations throughout the US and Puerto Rico that are committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Mars InSight Data Release 2 – Watch Mars M-O-V-E!

#Mars #InSight Data Release 2 – Watch Mars M-O-V-E!  Through a collaboration between #NASA and Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (#IRIS), the second release of seismic data from the Mars’ InSight mission is publicly available.  #TXESP uploaded select data using IRIS’ #jAmaSeis software, here is a sneak peak!

February 9, 2019
February 9 – 10, 2019
February 10, 2019

Building Across STEM Disciplines

Support our campaign to bring earthquake instruments to SIX schools in Houston!  CLICK HERE >>> “Seismographs in Houston Schools


At TXESP, we immerse our lesson plans and activities across multiple Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics disciplines.  Each teaching tool is carefully chosen for its adaptability to achieve this goal.  Science does not live in a vacuum – science is dynamic, science is evolving, and science is a feedback loop of inquiries.  Embedded within our pedagogy are the underlying principles of the NGSS.

A [NGSS] Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (Framework) recommends science education in grades K–12 be built around three major dimensions: science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts that unify the study of science and engineering through their common application across fields, and core ideas in the major disciplines of natural science….. The Framework identifies seven crosscutting concepts that bridge disciplinary boundaries, uniting core ideas throughout the fields of science and engineering. Their purpose is to help students deepen their understanding of the disciplinary core ideas (pp. 2 and 8) and develop a coherent and scientifically based view of the world (p. 83). The seven crosscutting concepts presented in Chapter 4 of the Framework are as follows:  patterns, scale/proportion/quantity, cause and effect, systems and models, energy and matter, structure and function, and stability / change. ”


Help bring six new seismographs to Houston-area schools >>> go fund me!

Screenshot of the helicorder detecing ground motion beneath Spring, TX.

This year, Texas Educational Seismic Project (TXESP) is campaigning to raise funds to purchase (6) Raspberry Shake seismographs to be placed in Houston-area schools.

The Raspberry Shake seismograph is a scientific instrument which detects and records ground motion such as: earthquakes! erupting volcanoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms, slamming doors, children jumping on the floor…. and the list goes on and on.   “Seismographs in Schools” is a project which brings exciting, hands-on, dynamic and REAL TIME data into the classroom.  K-12 students learn concepts spanning all STEM disciplines as it is actually practised in the real world.

For more information about how TXESP uses seismographs to accomplish learning goals, please visit us at, on Twitter @KristiFinkTXESP, or on Facebook


Jumping, Jumping, Jumping, Kids Get Your Jump On!

Jumping, Jumping, Jumping, Kids Get Your Jump On!  This morning we experimented with our #RaspberryShake (Station #RAD87) by creating our own “earthquakes” – we jumped in front of the #seismograph several times.  We are investigating how local site conditions affect the #amplitude and #shape of the waves we see recorded on the #helicorder (see picture below).

Each time we moved the RS seismograph, it created a large amplitude spike (shown as black arrows).  First, we moved the RS seismograph to an open space on the hardwood floor, then we jumped for 10 seconds and again for 20 seconds (shown by the green arrows at times 14:22 and 14:23).  Second, we placed a pillow under the RS seismograph and jumped for 20 seconds again (time 14:25).  Lastly, we put two sheets of bubble wrap under the RS and jumped for 20 more seconds (time 14:26).  Once we finished jumping, we moved the RS back to its original position.

Image#1 – Raspberry Shake Station RAD87’s helicorder display.  Shown are the high amplitude events when we were moving the seismograph (black arrows) and when we were jumping in front of the instrument (green arrows).


Image#2 – An extracted seismogram showing the different waves detected by the RS.  The first group of waves begin with a movement down (shown by the black arrow), this movement is associated with jumping because the ground first moves down.  The second group of waves first moves up because we are picking the instrument up to move it.  Note that both groups of waves have several up-and-down peaks which show us how the instrument was moving, relative to the ground, during that time period.


Unfortunately the SWARM software stopped the peaks/troughs once they reach a certain amplitude, so we cannot observe the difference (1) jumping with the seismograph on hardwood vs. a pillow vs. on bubblewrap, and (2) between jumping vs. moving the seismograph.

Next steps are to re-design the experiment so that the software doesn’t change our display on the helicorder.  Scientific-inquiry is a iterative process, re-design and try again 🙂

Can We Detect Small Earthquakes?

TXESP continues researching the answer, if any, to the question “How well can the Raspberry Shake seismograph **detect earthquakes** and provide high quality data comparable to other educational and research-quality seismographs?”

Example: a magnitude M3.1 Earthquake occurred near Monahans, Texas on September 6, 2019 at 15:55 hrs UTC. Two of three Raspberry Shake seismographs recorded ground motion at 2.2 pol deg away (Station R70B6), 2.4 polar deg away (Station R376A) and 6.6 pol deg away (Station RAD87). Note that each seismogram has a 1.0 Hz LP filter applied.

Compare how well each seismograph detected (or not detected) this small event.



Come See TX/BC-ESP’s Poster at Society of Exploration Geophysicists’ National Conference in San Antonio, Sept 18, 2019

Come See TX/BC-ESP’s Poster at Society of Exploration Geophysicists’ National Conference in San Antonio, Sept 18, 2019 !

Texas Educational Seismic Project (TXESP), together with the Boston College Educational Seismology Project (BCESP), share a mission to take real world events and turn them into “Teachable Moments”.  In pursuit of our mission, both TXESP and BCESP use seismology as an exciting medium for inviting students into the world of scientific monitoring; we are highly motivated to promote inquiry-based learning through investigation of earthquakes recorded by seismographs in classrooms. It is truly fascinating that it is possible to record earthquakes that occur across Texas and New England using a new, simple seismograph – the Raspberry Shake seismograph. Seismographs record many types of ground motions: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, human-made explosions, and even local traffic! Historically, real-time earthquake monitoring and analysis required very large, high cost, and professional laboratory quality instruments.  However, very recently the Raspberry Shake seismograph revolutionized citizen science capabilities.  The question we ask is “Can the Raspberry Shake seismograph provide high quality data similar to other educational and laboratory seismographs?”  Raspberry Shake offers a simple “plug-and-play” affordable seismograph which offers great flexibility for users.   Affordability and flexibility expands opportunities for low to median income (LMI) students – giving them research experiences investigating what is recorded on their classroom seismograph and promoting a valuable positive step in the direction of inquiry-based science education and college readiness.

TXBC_ESPs_SEG_2019_printed POSTER