Creating the Model
- This lesson expands on the notion of engineering design, by building 3-D models of simple designs, and testing the structures on a shake-table.
- 12" x 12” (30.5cm x 30.5cm) wooden boards
- Thickness: 1/4” (6mm)
- Mass: 0.61 lb (275 grams)
- 12 x 12 hole grid spaced at 1” (2.5cm)
- Rigid (stiffness is significantly larger than columns)
- 3/8” dowel rods- 3 lengths
- Glue guns and glue
- Building Data Log Handout
- Pens and/or Pencils
- Shake table: To build your own visit MCEER Information Service
- Students will better understand what has been explored in the previous earthquake engineering design lessons, by putting their designs to the test.
National Standards Addressed
- Math (Presented by National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in 2000)
- Use visualization, spatial reasoning, and geometric modeling to solve problems
- Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements
- Problem Solving
- Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts
- Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems
- Communicate their mathematical thinking coherently and clearly to peers, teachers, and others
- Use the language of mathematics to express mathematical ideas precisely
- Recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics
- Science (Presented by National Research Council in 1996)
- Unifying Concepts and Processes
- Evidence, models, and explanation
- Physical Science
- Science and Technology
- Abilities of technological design
- Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
- Natural hazards
- Risks and benefits
- Technology (Presented by the International Society for Technology in Education in 1998)
- Social, ethical, and human issues
- Students understand the ethical, cultural, and societal issues related to technology
- Technology productivity tools
- Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity
Engagement Activity (optional)
- Give student pairs a piece of paper, and an empty plastic bottle or can. Have students stand the bottle right side up on the piece of paper. Using the piece of paper as a shake table, let
the students explore how little force is needed to topple the bottle.
- Inform students that today using that knowledge, students are going to be creating an actual model, which will be tested.
- Each group will build a five-story building, using the following materials.
- 3/16” dowel rods of 3 lengths
- 1 story – 12 in
- 3 stories – 30 in
- 5 stories – 48 in
- Pegboards (for each floor and the ceiling)
- The scale we will use is 1 inch = 1 foot
- The height of the first floor must be 12 feet.
- The height of the second through fifth floors must be 10 feet
- You are given a budget of $10,000,000. Prices for materials are as follows:
- Each floor: $500,000
- Roof: $1,000,000
- 1 story support: $300,000
- 3 story support: $475,000
- 5 story support: $700,000
- Buildings must be able to survive, without collapsing, an earthquake as simulated on the shake table.
- Students will build the structures, keeping track of the budget on the Building Data Log Handout.
Sustaining, Concluding, or Extending Activities (optional)
- Put students’ buildings on shake tables with up to 30lbs of weight on them. See how many survive.
- Use solid weights, such as 5 and 10 lb flat weights used at a gym.
- Stack the weights throughout the model, so that the heavier amount is on the base floor, and the lighter amount is on the top.
- (For instance place a 10 lb weight on the ground floor, and 5 lb weights on the 1st through 5th floors.)
- Those that survive the weight test have a contest to see which can withstand the greatest weight in an earthquake.
- CONSISTENCY WITH EACH MODEL
- Have students experiment with different dowel widths, or with more or less rods, to see which is sturdier.
Evaluation and Assessment
- Student buildings will be assessed on creativity, durability, and budget constraints.
- Using the information gathered from the multiple buildings constructed in their classroom, students will be asked to make conjectures as to what a building needs to withstand an earthquake.
E-Resources, Print Materials, and Hands-on Activities
- Building Data Log Worksheet
- Build you own Shake table, click here for instructions.