This one is GREAT! I got the idea while designing a summer course for our Engineering Seminar I kids for the summer of '00. They met 4 hours, once a week, for 7 weeks. I thought something that might teach some PhySci and Engineering would be best due to the "hands-on" nature.

After many simple lessons on logarithms, YES - MATH!, ya NEED it for an understanding of the Richter Scale, earth's crust and earth's interior, plate tectonics, and basic earthquake anatomy, have the kids actually construct an "earthquake-PROOF" house. This is tough! Here are the particulars:
  1. Constuction is with toothpicks, popsicle sticks, and Elmer's white glue ONLY! You can, of course, set any criteria that works for you. You could include
  2. Construction must be done within the AMOUNT of equipment provided. I provide each group
  3. The structure MUST have 3 stories.
  4. The base of the structure cannot exceed any dimension beyond 12"x12".
  5. Height is inconsequencial for testing.
Now, after the kids have had lots of computer time researching the current state of "earthquake proof" architecture, they proceed to build their structure. I help NOT AT ALL.

Testing: Ahh, the all-important Assessment Tools. Well, originally, I acquired an official "earthquake board" from SciKit for $150.00. I shoulda knowed better... I made one. Look in the catalog and you can tell how. All it consists of is a 2'x4' plywood hunk mounted on four legs that are made with 4" bolts and gate springs. This allows the board, which serves as the surface of the earth, to rotate and bounce up and down to simulate the 4 various waves of a big Quake. I will, as soon as I can remember to do so, place a picture of it here...

I go thru the waves as listed in Earthquake Waves, the story about P, S, Love and Raleigh Waves! If it doesn't survive the 'P' wave, the 1st one to get there from the epicenter, they fail. It fails by having any part of the stucture become detached or cave-in. If they survive the 'P', they get a 'D'. Survive 'S' Wave and get a 'C'. Survive 'Love' and get a 'B'. Survive the dreaded 'Raleigh' and get an 'A'.

See also, my Earthquake Waves, the story about P, S, Love and Raleigh Waves!

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