MCEER logo

MCEER Bulletin, Volume 21, Number 2, Summer 2007

skip navigation

Volume 21, Number 2, Summer 2007

mceer logo

Education and Outreach Activities at the
University at Buffalo

Elementary School Outreach

students watch demonstration

Host Andrew McNeil demonstrates seismic liquefaction properties

MCEER Information Service hosted four school groups this spring for a combined lecture and demonstration on the core geophysical elements of earthquakes, the dangers from seismic disasters and the merits of earthquake engineering. Union Pleasant Elementary School participated in March with 40 third graders and two 6th grade science classes from Buffalo Public School #18 (Dr. Antonia Pantoja Community School of Academic Excellence) visited in May. The groups were hosted by Andrew McNeil and included a presentation and a hands-on demonstration of the properties of seismic liquefaction. Highlights of the events included images detailing structural damage from past, historical earthquakes and the archival videos from the “NEESWood Benchmark Shake Table Testing of a Full-Scale Two-Story Townhouse Woodframe Building” performed in SEESL November 2006. The visits were part of the Information Service's Education and Outreach activities, which include Community Events - Presentations and Tours.

Middle School Students Visit UB

Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School

Gilberto Mosqueda

Gilberto Mosqueda with a 3-D model

group photo

Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School seventh graders

Connecte²d Teaching colleagues, Gilberto Mosqueda, Deborah Moore-Russo and Sofia Tangalos, hosted two Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School seventh grade classes for a full morning of activities including a presentation, tour of UB’s SEESL lab and a shake table demonstration. The 40 students were very eager to have Mosqueda test their 3-D models on a mini shake table to assess the model’s ability to withstand several intense earthquakes, including Northridge and Kobe. Led by their teacher, Ms. Elaine Nieman, the students had previously studied seismology concepts related to math topics using several lesson plans from the Connecte²d Teaching website. They had also used the Shake & Quake simulator prior to creating the model. The group visited UB on May 23, 2007.

Washington Middle School

group photo

Sixth graders from Washington Middle School visited UB to learn about earthquake engineering

On March 30, 2007, 55 sixth graders from Washington Middle School in Jamestown, NY visited UB’s Department of Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering (CSEE) and the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL). Students viewed a presentation titled “Engineering, Earthquakes, and Earthquake Engineering” from UB graduate student and SLC Chair, Michael Pollino. The presentation started by introducing the field of civil engineering and then discussed how earthquakes are generated and affect structures. The discussion on earthquakes followed from the earth science curriculum they had learned prior to the visit. The final part of the presentation introduced them to earthquake engineering and many of the studies taking place at UB to help protect people and structures during an earthquake. Following the presentation, the class saw a demonstration of a model high-rise building structure subjected to a series of earthquakes from a mini-shake table. UB graduate and undergraduate students Charles Ekiert, Donald Taylor and Laura Przybylski set-up and discussed the testing with the students.

The students then visited the SEESL lab where some of the experimental testing discussed in the presentation took place. From the third level of the mezzanine, the students could see the equipment used to test structures from the forces of earthquakes. The students were excited to see the laboratory and had a number of good questions during the lunch that followed.

The visit from the middle school students was a reverse site visit from the previous year, when Michael went to the middle school. The teacher, Lisa Peterson, felt that the presentations and laboratory visits had a very positive impact.