Building an Earthquake Resistant Structure
Lesson 12 of 18
Objective: SWBAT build an earthquake resistant structure.
In addition to getting the building materials, I also prepared a "shake table" before this session. It's a small game box lid taped onto a container lid, resting on a bunch of marbles, inside the the lid of another game box. I found many more permanent designs online, but this was simplest.
I wrote each table number's name on a Lego Duplo figure (use whatever you have, an army man, a ping pong ball, etc.), and drew them out of a bag for each group to come up and get their materials. I thought the order would matter if I ran out of something. I only ran out of marshmallow cream, but that was only for my student with a nut allergy. I had way more than I needed of everything else.
Each group member came up and selected their 10 items. This went pretty quickly since they planned it all out yesterday in Designing an Earthquake Resistant Structure. Paper plates and portion cups would have made this much easier. I counted peanut butter by the spoonful, and kind of smeared it onto trays.
Once they had their materials, they got right to building. I have groups of 4 or 5, it would have been nice to do in groups of 3, but I had no "group issues" to deal with in this lesson.
I would have allowed 40 minutes to build, but the first group was ready to test in 10 minutes.
As each group decided their structures were ready, they brought them over to the shake table to test them. I wanted them to shake their structures themselves so they could decide how hard to do it. I didn't want one group to have hurt feelings that I shook theirs harder or something.
Clean Up and Reflection
This lesson was a lot of fun, but it was a huge mess. I had to send 3 kids to the nurse to get marshmallow creme out of their hair. Fortunately because they were done building and testing at different times, they were a little more staggered waiting to wash hands at the sink, and I had paper towels and cleaning wipes ready to go.
When they were finished cleaning, I had them complete an Engineering an Earthquake Resistant Structure Reflection online. This could certainly be administered with paper and pencil as well. I used this to assess both their understanding of the engineering design process, as well as provide them an opportunity to work on their own group dynamics.
If you would like more information about creating your own Google Form, I thought this was a great tutorial aimed at teachers: 8 Steps to Create Engaging Google Forms (For Teachers)