Teachers visit New Madrid to learn about famous quakes

Jul 16, 2012

Twenty science teachers from six different states visited New Madrid, Missouri today to learn more about that town's claim to fame: earthquakes.

It's part of a University of Missouri program to teach teachers about mid-continental earthquakes and geology.

Lloyd Barrow, who teaches science education at the University of Missouri, said the trip to New Madrid allows the teachers to see first-hand the places they discuss in their textbooks.

"By being able to say, 'I was there' they will relate to the students. And so that's part of the benefit. Several of the teachers had been teaching about the New Madrid quake, but had never been here."

The twenty teachers ranged from middle school to community college.

Among them was Oscar Newman, a 7th and 8th grade science and math teacher from Chicago. He said it was an eye-opening experience to actually see a fault that a farmer found on his property.

"Getting just to go firsthand and actually scrape away a little of the overlying soil and see geology in action is something that the city of Chicago prevents. And so that's just a fascinating thing. That we can actually get in there and get on hands and knees and see the fault."

The teachers came from Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee. The group checked out faults and other geologic evidence of the great 1810-1811 quakes.

The workshop is part of a National Science Foundation grant that funds earthquake research and fosters science education.