Friday, November 30, 2012

Real Learning...Surviving an Earthquake

Students just finished up learning about the ins and outs of earthquakes...so to bring it all home, we designed structures that were built to withstand earthquake forces.  Much like the Design Squad activities, students were given a set number of supplies and were required to create a structure at least 50 cm in height.  Going through the engineering design process, students were allowed to build a prototype and then return to lab stations to tweak their work.






5 comments:

loneilteaches said...

I love this! I teach engineering to 7th and 8th graders and am always looking for new ideas. Could you give me more details on what the expectations were, what supplies you provided and how you build the great simulator?

Caught in the Middle said...

Good Morning!
Here are the resources I used...

http://www.atcouncil.org/pdfs/bp1a.pdf (great reading tie in)

http://www.discoveryeducation.com/teachers/free-lesson-plans/constructing-earthquake-proof-buildings.cfm (earthquake lesson plan with construction directions...I used the other lessons in this too, but tweaked them)

Materials...10 straws, 6ft of twine, 5 tp rolls/paper towel, 5 paper cups 17 foam blocks, 10 paper clips 5 rubber bands, 5 ft long dowel rods.

Rules...minimum height 50 cm, only straws, twine, cups, paper clips, and rubber bands were disposable (no other supplies could be altered in any way), 3 prototypes were required, and "spying" on other groups was only allowed during set times.

Procedures...
Day 1 Plan, play around with supplies in lab stations of 4-5.
Day 2 build initial prototype and test on the machine...return to redesign and/or making adjustments for prototype 2. If time, students could test a 2nd time.
Day 3...worked on testing prototype 2/3 depending on where everyone was at.
Day 4...test all buildings.

By day 4 nearly all buildings lasted the "earthquake" since they know that they needed a wide base. If I continued this on for additional work days, I would have changed something that would make it more challenging. Taking away straws and dowels would have made all buildings undergo renovations!

Kriste71 said...

How was the earth quake simulator made?

Caught in the Middle said...

Kriste71,
There is a link above to follow that gives directions for the simulator.

Unknown said...

Are the materials listed for a whole class or for each group?

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