Earthquake shake table project

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Posted by Cynthia Berger on Thursday, April 5, This engineering teacher tip is for educators who use Engineering Adventuresour curriculum for learners in grades in out-of-school settings like afterschool and camp—specifically the unit Shake Things Up: Engineering Earthquake-Resistant Buildings.

This unit introduces kids to the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in ; the challenge is to engineer a model building that can withstand a quake. Self-adhesive foam : When the table is fully assembled, the self-adhesive foam attaches to the top board, representing the soil surface underneath your model building. Clear plastic tubes : In our model shake table, the tubes serve as rollers—you place them between the two foam-core boards. No fancy tubes? You can substitute.

Note that if you use balls as rollers for your shake table, it will perform differently than a table that uses cylindrical rollers. We hope you'll experiment with other materials you may already have in your classroom.

Earthquake Shake Table

Let us know what happens! Teachers at an EiE workshop get ready to test their model building. Alternately, use a flat baking pan filled with garden soil. This adds an extra dash of realism to the activity! Anything that rolls will work. Bonus Challenge Note that if you use balls as rollers for your shake table, it will perform differently than a table that uses cylindrical rollers. Written by Cynthia Berger. Subscribe to Email Updates. Search the EiE Blog Search.As ofthe tallest building in the world is the Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates Figure 1with a height of meters 2, feet.

Over the decades, different cities and countries have competed with each other to build taller buildings. How do engineers build buildings so tall? An engineer designs a building to withstand forcesor things that push and pull on the building.

Forces come from many sources: gravity, people inside, weight of building materials, weather, and environmental impacts. If the design is stable, then these forces will not weaken the structure or cause the structure to collapse. One type of force that can weaken a structure is a lateral side-to-side shaking force, like that experienced during an earthquake.

Earthquakes occur when the earth's tectonic plateswhich are slowly moving relative to each other, get stuck for a while and then suddenly come loose. If an engineer is going to design a building in earthquake country, then they need to be sure that their design can withstand lateral forces.

Some of the world's tallest buildings, like the Petronas Towers, are an excellent example of this type of design because Malaysia is in an area that experiences frequent earthquake activity. One way to test a design for stability to lateral forces is to use a shake table. A shake table is a special type of table that engineers use to simulate an earthquake on model buildings. In this experiment, you will build your own miniature shake-table which you will use to test your own LEGO buildings.

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By building structures of different heights, you will test if increasing the height of the structure has an effect on the stability of the building. You also have the option to measure how hard your earthquake table shakes using a smartphone and Google's Science Journal app. Will your designs be able to take a shake? Here are two science fair projects from students at the Selah Intermediate School in Selah, Washington that inspired this project idea:. Note : In this science project, you will build your own shake table and test the strength of LEGO towers.

Optionally, you can also measure the strength of your simulated earthquakes using a smartphone and Google's Science Journal app. You will find the instructions on how to measure the earthquake strength here.

Scientists use instruments called seismometers to measure the motion of the ground during earthquakes. In this project, you can use a similar but not identical device called an accelerometer to measure the motion of the top plate of your shake table. An accelerometer measures accelerationor how fast an object's velocity changes.

Accelerometers are built-in to many smartphones and video game controllers to give them motion control. You can use an app called Google's Science Journal to record data with your phone's accelerometer.

To learn how to measure acceleration and how to record data with the app you can review the relevant walk-through tutorials on this Science Journal tutorial page.

Then, try out this procedure:. A graph measures the acceleration of a building as it shakes on a tabletop.Partial Design Process These resources engage students in some of the steps in the engineering design process, but do not have them complete the full process.

While some of these resources may focus heavily on the brainstorm and design steps, others may emphasize the testing and analysis phases. Although no charge or fee is required for using TeachEngineering curricular materials in your classroom, the lessons and activities often require material supplies.

The expendable cost is the estimated cost of supplies needed for each group of students involved in the activity. Most curricular materials in TeachEngineering are hierarchically organized; i. Some activities or lessons, however, were developed to stand alone, and hence, they might not conform to this strict hierarchy.

Related Curriculum shows how the document you are currently viewing fits into this hierarchy of curricular materials. Because earthquakes can cause walls to crack, foundations to move and even entire buildings to crumple, engineers incorporate into their structural designs techniques that withstand damage from earthquake forces, for example, cross bracing, large bases and tapered geometry.

Earthquake-proof buildings are intended to bend and sway with the motion of earthquakes, or are isolated from the movement by sliders. Engineers come up with an idea, test it, and then re-engineer the structure based on its performance. Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K science, technology, engineering or math STEM educational standards.

In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.

earthquake shake table project

Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

Grades 3 - 5. Do you agree with this alignment? Thanks for your feedback! Alignment agreement: Thanks for your feedback! Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved. Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans. Grade 4. View aligned curriculum. They make a model of a seismograph—a measuring device that records an earthquake on a seismogram.

Students also investigate which structural designs are most likely to survive an earthquake. Students learn about the types of seismic waves produced by earthquakes and how they move the Earth. Students learn how engineers build shake tables that simulate the ground motions of the Earth caused by seismic waves in order to test the seismic performance of buildings. Students learn about tornadoes - their basic characteristics, damage and occurrence.Scientists and engineers are constantly creating and updating structural designs to earthquake-proof structures around the world in order to help saves lives and property.

A building that can withstand an earthquake can sway with the shaking motion or rest on sliders to isolate it from the movement. Engineers design, test and redesign structures in their work, and students can demonstrate the process in a classroom science project. For the Rock and Roll science project, the student gathers materials to construct an earthquake-proof house, such as index cards, paperclips, wooden sticks, tape and cardboard. Using the cardboard as the building footprint, he proceeds to construct a house from the available supplies in any style that he chooses.

A volunteer then shakes the cardboard base, simulating an earthquake to see how the house holds up. The student observes and records any effect the earthquake had on the structure.

Shake table

He then reinforces the house with additional materials, such as extra wooden sticks across the roof of the house or more tape to secure the house to the base, to strengthen the structure.

A journal accompanies the project, recording all of the materials used, construction technique, improvements that were necessary and any observations made during the project. To make an earthquake-proof house, the student assembles toothpicks whole or broken in half and miniature marshmallows to form cubes and triangles.

He then stacks the cubes and triangles together to form a house that is either wide and short or narrow and tall. After the house is complete, the student sets it onto a pan of gelatin. A volunteer shakes the pan back and forth to simulate an earthquake while the student records any observations he has. After making structural changes to the house, the volunteer can shake the gelatin pan again to see if the changes improved the structure.

The accompanying journal should record the structure materials, diagrams of the structural design and all observations. The Shake, Rattle and Roll science project challenges students to build three separate house examples using index cards, straws, tape and paper clips.

The first house addresses building issues in high-impact areas. The student builds a house that is short and wide for greater stability or a tall building that has a wide base and a narrow top.

The second house is an example of a hillside home, constructed either with a wide base or with support straws connecting the house to the hill below. A third house example demonstrates constructing a house on a rubber base that can absorb earthquake shock waves to protect the house.

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In the report that accompanies the houses, the student explains the reasoning behind each structure in its particular environment and how the design can withstand earthquake movement.

Building-block fans will enjoy the Tallest Tower science project. The main idea is to test tall-structure stability against the lateral shaking force that occurs during an earthquake. The student builds different towers in varying heights out of building blocks, such as LEGOs, but maintains the same base size for each tower. To build a shaking table, he places four rubber balls between two pieces of cardboard and holds them together with two rubber bands.

After sliding a LEGO base through the rubber bands, the student mounts one of his buildings to the base. Pulling on the top layer of the shake table will reenact an earthquake effect on the building. Each tower is tested. An accompanying journal should record each tower height and whether it endured the earthquake. Kimberly Dyke is a Spanish interpreter with a B. She began writing professionally inspecializing in education, parenting and culture.

Currently residing in South Carolina, Dyke has received certificates in photography and medical interpretation. About the Author. Photo Credits. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd.Shake tables are a fun and engaging tool to use when teaching an earth science unit about earthquakes. Scientists use huge shake tables to simulate earthquake ground movement and predict earthquake damage to actual buildings.

In this earthquake lesson plan activity, students will build structures and test them to see which structures are best able to withstand the shaking of an earthquake. It is best done in small groups of two to 4 students, so all of the students can have a chance to be involved in the activity, but fewer materials are needed. To construct the shake table, place one board on top of the other, lining up the sides. Stretch the rubber bands around the boards on two opposite sides to hold the boards together.

Slide the rubber bands in so that they are about 1 inch from the outer edge of the board.

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Pull the boards apart and insert a ball between the two boards on each of the four corners. The balls should be approximately 1 inch in from the corner. Gently pulling and releasing, or jiggling the top board of the shake table will cause a movement that simulates the movement of the ground during the earthquake. Students will build structures and then place them on the shake table, move it to simulate an earthquake, and test which structures are most stable.

For building the structures, students can use Legos, wooden blocks, sugar cubes, popsicle sticks, toothpicks, marshmallows, plastic straws, pipe cleaners, paper clips, playing cards, or any other common materials.

Students can experiment with the height of the structures and how different construction methods affect stability.

Earthquake proof building model on shake table

After this activity, teachers can have a class discussion about earthquake preparedness and safety. This is especially important if you live in a location that is at risk for earthquakes. Some important things to do to prepare for an earthquake are:. For more resources on teaching about earthquakes, see Earthquake Vocabulary Terms. Skip to content. Introduction Shake tables are a fun and engaging tool to use when teaching an earth science unit about earthquakes. Procedure For each shake table, you will need: Two pieces of heavy cardboard or thin wood, approximately 12 x 12 inches 30 x 30 cm.

Covers of worn out three-ring binders work well for this Four rubber balls or bouncy balls, about one inch 2. Follow-up After this activity, teachers can have a class discussion about earthquake preparedness and safety. Some important things to do to prepare for an earthquake are: Secure heavy items such as water heaters, bookcases, televisions and other pieces of heavy furniture that can fall over and cause injury Keep a disaster kit in the home that contains clean drinking water, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, a flashlight, batteries and a portable radio.

Learn what to do when an earthquake strikes: Stay away from windows and exterior walls. To reduce risk of injury, Drop, Cover and Hold On: drop to the floor and take shelter underneath a heavy table or desk, and hold onto it until the shaking stops.In a rush to make a major tax-deductible gift before the year's end?

Purchase account credits and choose projects later! Time is running out! Make your tax-deductible gift before midnight on December Check your email to verify your account and get started on your first project.

Didn't receive the email? We're a charity that makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Your gift is tax-deductible. I am the science teacher for our ESL students, many of whom are brand new to the country and have limited formal schooling and limited English on top of everything else.

My students engage in science projects and activities on a regular basis to help them both improve their English and learn a hands-on approach to science.

Since I am in a high poverty district, funding is not always available for activities and projects to help students learn, which makes it difficult to give them opportunities they would have in a different school district. I am requesting an Earthquake shake table to create an engineering challenge for my students: can they use their knowledge about earthquakes to create an earthquake-resistant building?

They learn much better by working together in groups on hands-on projects and design challenges. I want to give them an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of earthquakes while also challenging them to think about how buildings are built to withstand earthquakes. This shake table will give them an opportunity to simulate a real earthquake and evaluate their engineering skills. The shake table and resulting project will also be useful for STEM projects and end-of-the-year design challenges.

This is a resource that will be used for years to come! Total project cost.

earthquake shake table project

Suggested donation to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms. Total project goal. Our team works hard to negotiate the best pricing and selections available. This project will reach students. If you donated to this project, you can sign in to leave a comment for Ms. Add a profile photo in addition to your classroom photo. If you add a photo, it'll show up right here on your project page. DonorsChoose makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.

You're on track to get doubled donations and unlock a reward for the colleague who referred you. Keep up the great work! Take credit for your charitable giving! Check out your tax receipts.Time Required: 1 hours 45 minutes two minute periods.

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Partial Design Process These resources engage students in some of the steps in the engineering design process, but do not have them complete the full process. While some of these resources may focus heavily on the brainstorm and design steps, others may emphasize the testing and analysis phases. Although no charge or fee is required for using TeachEngineering curricular materials in your classroom, the lessons and activities often require material supplies.

The expendable cost is the estimated cost of supplies needed for each group of students involved in the activity. Most curricular materials in TeachEngineering are hierarchically organized; i.

Some activities or lessons, however, were developed to stand alone, and hence, they might not conform to this strict hierarchy. Related Curriculum shows how the document you are currently viewing fits into this hierarchy of curricular materials. Students, like engineers, use shake tables that simulate the movement of seismic waves to test the resistance of their model building structures to earthquake shaking.

earthquake shake table project

In certain areas of the world, earthquakes are a serious concern. Civil and structural engineers who focus on designing buildings, bridges, roads and other infrastructure for earthquake-prone areas must understand seismic waves and how to construct structures that are able to withstand the forces from the powerful ground motions of the Earth. For testing purposes, engineers design shake tables to simulate or re-enact the seismic waves produced by earthquakes and verify the stability and survivability of their structures.

Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K science, technology, engineering or math STEM educational standards. In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

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Grades 6 - 8. Do you agree with this alignment? Thanks for your feedback! Alignment agreement: Thanks for your feedback! Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.

View aligned curriculum. Final model building designs being tested on a drill-powered shaker table.

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Students learn about the types of seismic waves produced by earthquakes and how they move the Earth. Students learn how engineers build shake tables that simulate the ground motions of the Earth caused by seismic waves in order to test the seismic performance of buildings.

They make a model of a seismograph—a measuring device that records an earthquake on a seismogram. Students also investigate which structural designs are most likely to survive an earthquake. Students learn what causes earthquakes, how we measure and locate them, and their effects and consequences. Through the online Earthquakes Living Lab, student pairs explore various types of seismic waves and the differences between shear waves and compressional waves.


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