# Fault Activity

```LCPS Earth Science Suggested Lab Activities
Quarter: 3rd quarter
Author/Source: Rippa
SOL: 8
Topic: Plate Tectonics – Faults
School: Freedom HS
Title: Fault Activity
Suggested length: 1 block
Objective:
Students will understand and demonstrate their understanding of different types of faults.
Synopsis/Abstract:
Students demonstrate and manipulate fault models. They should already have seen the
faults in notes in class. This works to help students get a 3-D view of the faults aside
from the 2-D ones drawn in their book. They will see how a normal fault results from
tension (pulling apart), since the block becomes wider after faulting, and that a reverse
fault results from compression (pushing together), since the block becomes thinner after
faulting.
Materials:
Fault models (one per group):
Styrofoam rectangles
Styrofoam cutter
Paint
Procedure (including suggestions for classroom management, grouping,
provisioning, safety concerns)
Build the models:
1. Buy fifteen 4”x4”x2” Styrofoam blocks, one per group. Michaels also has a
Styrofoam cutter (a simple tool with a wire and 2 D batteries that heat the
wire) that easily cuts the Styrofoam much more smoothly than possible with a
knife.
2. Paint the thin sides all around each block with two or three rows of different
colors, to signify layers of rock within the
earth.
crossing the block. This will help students
see how surface features are displaced by
faulting. I suggest making them all slightly
different to make blocks easier to match up
later.
4. Finally, slice each block roughly in half at an angle, as in the diagram above.
Be sure to cut across the road you drew on the surface. Be careful – the hot
wire &amp; melted foam can burn.
5. Give each student group one block to manipulate. First, they will draw the
block unfaulted from the side &amp; top, with the layers and road/river included.
They will also measure the length of the block. You will often need to
demonstrate what is required and how to visualize &amp; draw the fault. Then they
manipulate the block to make normal, reverse &amp; strike-slip faults to measure
&amp; draw them.
This works for students of all levels.
This can be followed by a variation of Simon Says: Students get in pairs and face each
other. When you call out Simon Says normal fault, they should step away from each
other. When you call out Simon Says reverse fault, they should step toward each other.
When you call out Simon Says strike-slip fault, they should each step towards their left,
thus sliding past each other. Like a typical Simon Says game, if you don’t say Simon
Says, they should not move. If they move, the pair is out. Practice the commands a few
times until they all get it, then speed it up and try to trick them. Students love it and will
remember! This can also be done with tension (step back), compression (step together)&amp;
shear stress (slide past); divergent (step back), convergent (step together)&amp; transform
boundaries (slide past); or with rift (step back) and trench (step together).
Assessment:
The questions in the student sheet can be assessed for accuracy.
Name __________________________
Fault Activity
Manipulate your model of a fault to demonstrate
different faults and answer the following questions.
length
Unfaulted Rock
Measure the length of your rock block before faulting: _____________ cm
Draw a side view of your rock block, labeling the footwall &amp; hanging wall:
Normal Fault
Demonstrate a normal fault (use your notes). You may need to use a book to prop it up.
Measure the length of your rock block after faulting: _____________ cm
Draw a side view of your rock block after faulting, labeling the footwall &amp; hanging wall:
Analysis
To create a normal fault, the hanging wall moved (up / down / along) the footwall.
The process that creates a normal fault is (compression / tension / shear stress).
Reverse Fault
Demonstrate a reverse fault. You may need to use a book to prop it up.
Measure the length of your rock block after faulting: _____________ cm
Draw a side view of your rock block after faulting, labeling the footwall &amp; hanging wall: