April 8, 2010 at 9:02 a.m.

Shaking it up in Earth Science class

Shaking it up in Earth Science class
Shaking it up in Earth Science class

Earth Science in the year 2010 has proven to be quite eventful so far with major earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, and more recently the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Students in Kari Townsdin's, Melissa Olson's, and Kevin Grote's eighth grade earth science classes studied natural disasters last month and after discussing recent destruction in Haiti, students were tasked with designing and creating seismic-safe structures.

In this project, students have to think like engineers and use trial and error with materials and designs to create the ultimate seismic-safe building. The students' structures were based on seismic-safe building designs created by real engineers studied in class.

Once students' design sketches are approved by a teacher, students have one day to construct the building out of marshmallows, toothpicks, and spaghetti noodles according to their plans. Their structures were then tested for durability on a custom-built shake table designed to simulate side-to-side shaking movement of large earthquakes.

Students assessed their design strengths and weaknesses completing the natural disasters class unit with an exciting and educational project.

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