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Students “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” with Earthquake Simulations

Seventh-graders in Kristin Suer’s earth science class wrapped up their study of plate tectonics and active geologic locations by creating earthquake resistant towers as part of their “Shake, Rattle, and Roll Earthquake” project. “Students could choose from building materials ranging from toothpicks (wood planks) and dowel rods (steel beams) to marshmallows (insulation) and tape (welded iron),” Suer said. ”Math was integrated into this project as students needed to create a budget to produce the strongest but most cost-effective towers. Beanbag animals were attached to the floors and the towers had to withstand the three types of seismic waves that most earthquakes produce.” Suer said the project was very popular with students, who also created slow motion videos of their towers in action.