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MCEER Bulletin, Volume 24, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2010

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Volume 24, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2010

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Connecte2d Teaching Offers Variety of Earthquake Educational Resources

The Connecte2d Teaching website includes simulation software and other learning tools for students interested in earthquake engineering.

A collaborative effort between MCEER's Information Service, the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering and the Graduate School of Education, all at the University at Buffalo, has resulted in Connecte2d Teaching—a comprehensive website that links the study of earthquakes and engineering design to K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

One of the most innovative components of the site is a simulation program that mimics professional structural analysis software used by structural engineers. Using a simplified graphical user interface, middle school students can design a structure through a click-and-drag activity. Students can simulate the response of their structures under real earthquake records, modify their designs and repeat the earthquake simulation to see if improvements can be made. The students then construct their structures using readily available materials and test their models on a shake table to verify their performance.

The Connecte2d Teaching website also includes lesson plans, a searchable database of web resources on extreme event engineering and detailed information on earthquake engineering design. The website was created with contributions from educators, engineers, and library/information science professionals.

All of the site’s educational materials have been piloted in rural, suburban and urban classrooms. The project has been featured in Computer Applications in Engineering Education (a peer-reviewed engineering education journal) and Science Scope (a journal of the National Science Teachers Association).

Students will use the National Science Foundation’s George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) facilities, including the shake tables at Berkeley, Reno and Buffalo. The NEES cyber infrastructure will enable virtual observations from schools across the country. Teacher workshops will take advantage of these resources to promote student observations and teacher participation in Buffalo, Berkeley and Reno.

The project team includes Sofia Tangalos, MCEER Information Service; Deborah Moore-Russo, Graduate School of Education; and Gilberto Mosqueda, Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering; all from the University at Buffalo. For more information, visit