In this lesson, students have the opportunity to simulate earthquakes and their effects on buildings. This activity is ideal for students working in groups.
Students will use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.
Have any of you ever been in an earthquake? If you have, what was the experience like? What emotions did you experience? If you’ve never experienced an earthquake, how do you think you would react to one?
One of the main dangers of earthquakes is the collapse of buildings. Is there a way to determine if a building can withstand an earthquake? What types of earthquake-proof construction do you think can help buildings survive? Do you think constructing earthquake-proof buildings is a new idea, or has it been practiced for centuries in some cultures?
In this activity, you will work in groups, or alone, to simulate earthquakes of different magnitudes online and observe how they affect buildings. First you will make construction choices that you think will help a building survive an earthquake. Then you’ll choose the location and the magnitude of the earthquake. After the simulation you’ll examine the earthquake-proof construction to see how effective it was. You will chart your simulated data in Microsoft Excel so you can develop conclusions based on your findings and present them in a written report.
Follow the steps below to guide your students through this lesson plan.
Create buildings that can withstand earthquakes and simulate earthquakes.
Ask your students to conduct additional experiments with the online simulation tool.
Ask your students to combine the class data to obtain more information and formulate more general conclusions.
Assess students’ answers to the questions in the main activity section. Their conclusions should address each question and reference the data they collected with the online simulator.
You can also assess how accurately they presented their data.
Ask students to come up with some different examples of planning ahead for an unexpected emergency. How do they decide whether the risk justifies the time, work, or cost required to prepare for the potential risk?
Encourage students to compare the 2010 earthquakes in Haiti with the one off the coast of Chile. How did magnitude, location, and building materials affect the relative amounts of human and structural damage caused by those earthquakes?