Table of Contents Using Real-Time Data Lesson Plans Implementation Assistance

Enrichment Lesson 4 Advanced: Engineering Application: What Can I Build On?

Overview
This lesson will challenge students to develop design strategies capable of withstanding liquefaction much like the basic version of What Can I Build On?.  In addition, this lesson will help standardize the earthquake generation portion which is critical to properly testing various solutions.

Part of a practicing engineers' task is to develop a realistic testing situation or model in order to generate realistic responses that help guide engineers towards solutions that will work in the real world. Consider various aspects of this lesson and see if there are other portions that could be modified to better reflect a real situation and test out some of your modifaction ideas. If you have some ideas and you like testing them out perhaps you should consider a career as an engineer!

Objectives

  • Explore how earthquakes cause structures to move
  • Understand how the substrate cause buildings to fail
  • Discover what variables affect building stability
  • Engineer a model building to withstand earthquakes better

Time:
Two 45 minute class periods. Time will vary since students will be working independently. The project may take some time to prepare for however so please plan accordingly.

Materials (for one set up)
  • 4x9cm Metal Baking (Loaf) Pan*
  • Large Protractor
  • Metric Ruler
  • Object (50 g)**
  • Milk carton, quart size is best
  • Level (spirit/bubble level)
  • String
  • Ring Stand
  • Clamp
  • Sand or modelling clay or gravel
  • Quick cement
  • Masking tape

*Loaf pans should have straight or near straight edges.  Pans with "lips" may interfere with the pendulum's movement
**You may use any objects you wish, but they must have a mass of approximately 50 grams each; more importantly they should all have the same mass.

Teacher Preparation instructions : There are three components to prepare:

 
Teacher's Procedure
Introduce the challenge:
  1. Separate class into groups of 3-5 students.

Teaching Tip!: Within each group, delegate tasks according to job description

  2.

Inform groups of their challenge:

Objective:  URGENT UPDATE!  REAL ESTATE VALUES IN YOUR TOWN HAVE GONE SKY HIGH.  ALTHOUGH A CORPORATION IS STILL WILLING TO DONATE LAND TO YOUR TOWN FOR THE COMPUTER- TECHNOLOGY BUILDING, THE LAND IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE.

Land has been donated to your town to build the computer-technology building.  You will be advised of what substrate exists on the land.  Your team must design a building that is sturdy enough to withstand a possible earthquake.  Only particular materials are available and you will be challenged to be as economical as possible.  Therefore, while designing the building your team must consider the materials available, the cost, the substrate that the building will be built upon, and the fact that the building will be in an earthquake zone. The group will be responsible for agreeing on a design, drawing the design to scale, listing materials and cost, and writing a proposal selling the team design idea to the architect on the project.  Good luck!

Demonstrate how to conduct trials in the experiment
  1. Place pan containing substrate on clean, flat table surface with a mock building standing inside.
  2. Align pan so that the mass of the pendulum at rest touches the length of the pan at a distance of 3cm from the table top.
  3. Carefully outline the base of the pan on the table top (pencil, wax marker).  One student should hold the pan in place.
  4. Raise the pendulum in a taut, even arc from the ring.  The string should align with 15 on the protractor for the first trial.
5. Drop the mass.
  6.  Before the next trial,  the loaf pan should be checked for alignment, utilizing the marks made on the tabletop.  The pendulum should be checked to make sure that its position is unchanged relative to the pan.
  7.  Check to make sure the substrate surface is as level as possible (by shaking the pan, smoothing the surface, etc.)
 
Students test mock building:
  1. Give students a data table to complete during testing
  2. Perform test at 15 degrees.
  3. Assess how level the building is. Record that it is either level or not level.
  4. Perform additional tests at 30, 45, 60, 75 and 90 degrees. Or until the building is not level. Note the angle at which the structure fails.
  Students engineer better design strategy
  1. Consider some design ideas that might prevent the building from failing.
  2. Test those ideas out.
  3. Reiterate the group's design ideas to develop a successful design.
  4.

Now consider the additional cost of the building based on the following price list:

Materials

Price/Unit

Aluminum Foil(3"x5")

$75.00/Sheet

Construction Paper(3"x5")

$50.00/Sheet

Rubber band

$25.00/each

Popsicle sticks

$75.00/each

Paper Clip or toothpick

$15.00/each

Tape(Transparent)

$10.00/cm

Other (TBD by teacher)  
  5. Prepare an engineering report that reflects your work and illustrates your teams most economical and viable idea for improving your building's ability to withstand liquefaction during an earthquake.

Additional Suggestions

 

Copyright 2007 Stevens Institute of Technology,
Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) All Rights Reserved.