Earthquake Engineering STEM Challenge

While most building designs need not consider the stresses produced when the ground shakes, building in areas that are earthquake prone need to be designed to withstand such pressures.  In such areas, engineers face the challenge of designing more robust buildings to withstand earthquakes.  Earthquake-proof buildings are often designed to bend and sway with the motion of an earthquake instead of cracking and breaking under the pressure.

Because earthquakes can cause walls to crack, foundations to move, and even entire buildings to crumple, earthquake engineers include structural design techniques that help buildings withstand damage from earthquake forces.   The side-to-side motion of an earthquake can cause the top and bottom of a building to move in different directions.  This side-to-side motion, often called shear, can be very damaging.

The task in this challenge is for students to design an earth-quake resistant structure using two or more design strategies that are used to minimize the impact of the earth shaking during an earthquake.

Activity Bumper-Earthquake Engineering

​Earthquake SC Resources:

Earthquake Engineering SC with vocab
Earthquake Engineering Challenges CR
Earthquake Student Sheet

Content Focus: constructive forces, destructive forces, earthquakes, earthquake engineering, STEM, hands-on