Designing an Earthquake Resistant Structure

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SWBAT use the engineering design process to plan an earthquake resistant structure.

Big Idea

How can you use the engineering design process to plan a structure that can stand up to an earthquake?


1 minutes

I launch this engineering design problem using the following video:

After the video, I posted the goal and constraints because I'm still seeing a lot of misunderstanding of the engineering vocabulary, and I wanted to make it as clear as possible.


30 minutes

I used the Engineering Design Challenge paper to help guide my students through researching solutions.  Some of them needed some support identifying key search terms instead of Googling "What do engineers do to make houses that are earthquake resistant?" or, worse, "How can you make a house that survives an earthquake out of food?"



10 minutes

After they found what other engineers had done, I gave them some time to look over the materials.  This way if they were considering adding wheels to a structure, that wouldn't be an option unless they could build it out of pretzels and peanut butter.  Then they had a few minutes to draw some initial designs.  During the actual designing, students were able to make revisions to these designs as they found out what worked, and what didn't.

I collected a sample of student responses to inform my lesson focus for tomorrow, and to help keep students accountable for the work.