For each group, teachers must ensure students have a cardboard shoe box, scissors, tape, 20-50 marbles, and four rubber bands to build an earthquake simulator. Students will also need 30 toothpicks and 30 miniature marshmallows to build their structures. Kids will sketch the design of their structures. After reviewing sketches, they will use marshmallows and toothpicks to construct the structure. Starting gently, each group of students will test the strength of their structures by placing them on the simulator and simulating earthquakes of increasing severity.
This single engineering activity provides opportunity for students to utilize all of the eight practices of science and engineering outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards.