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Students watch as their structures are subjected to simulated earthquake ground motions; the structure shown (inset) is buckling after the “UB Rumble.”

On February 14, 2005, twenty-four third-graders from Sheridan Hill Elementary School in Clarence, New York participated in the 2005 UB-MCEER Quake & Shake. At the event, the students tested popsicle-stick structures they had built according to earthquake design principles on the shake table in the Structural Engineering and Seismic Simulation Laboratory (SEESL) at the University at Buffalo.

Prior to the event, MCEER Deputy Director Andre Filiatrault made a presentation to the class on earthquake design and provided pointers on how to build the structures, which were required to support a masonry brick at a height of 12” above a wood base. The students were then divided into five teams and given three weeks to build their structures using only 150 popsicle sticks, a bottle of Elmer’s glue and a roll of dental floss.

Each student in Miss Fox’s third grade class at Sheridan Hill Elementary School received a certificate declaring him or her an “honorary structural engineer.”

The Quake and Shake began in a classroom in Ketter Hall, where each team gave a presentation explaining how they built their structures. The event then moved to the laboratory, where the students watched as their structures were shaken on the shake table under simulated ground motions from the El Centro, Kobe and Northridge historical earthquakes. The structures were then subjected to the designed “UB-Rumble,” a long and strong series of ground motions, until they all collapsed.

After the famous “UB Rumble,” all structures were declared “earthquake proof,” and each student received a certificate naming him or her an “honorary structural engineer.” More information is available at The event was broadcast on the local CBS-affiliate station, WIVB-TV in Buffalo, New York.

The Bulletin is a free publication offering articles on Center research, cooperative ventures, reports from conferences, educational activities, upcoming events, and reviews of new MCEER publications Spring 2005

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