Project 2 Earthquakes and Boise River Bridge

STEM+C Projects

A Project-based STEM+Computing Inquiry

About

This project was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant Number 1640228. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Dazhi Yang at dazhiyang@boisestate.edu or use our Contact Form.

Description

This project-based scientific inquiry project: Earthquake and Boise River Bridge Design is centered on researching different types of bridges, various aspects of earthquakes, and seismic safety features of bridges. In this project, students work in small groups to explore different bridge types, the destructive aspects of an earthquake, and the safety features for bridges that could resist earthquakes. Then students will design an earthquake-tolerant bridge and test their design with an earthquake simulator. To develop computational thinking and an understanding of STEM subjects, students from 4th, 5th and 6th grade will work in small groups of six, with one in-service teacher and one pre-service teacher, twice a week for eight weeks in a community centers after-school program.

Implementation

Please refer to the weekly activities (such as Week 1 Session 1 in the left sidebar and Resources from the sections below) for detailed information on how to use this project either in a classroom or an informal setting such as in community centers' after-school programs. The twice weekly sessions were originally designed to be 90 minutes in length, including a 10 minute break in the middle of the session. See photos of prior implementations on the projects' photo pages.


Week 4


Session 1
Questions

What is an earthquake?

Why does an earthquake occur?


Goal

To understand the preventative perspective of dealing with potential earthquake

To research the things that can be done for bridges  to resist earthquake


Activities

Research on resisting an earthquake

space

space


Resources

Bridge Videos


Outcomes

Presentation on strategies for resisting earthquake

Session 2
Questions

What are the damages of an earthquake?

space


Goal

To learn about strong bridges

To decide the type of bridge for the final bridge design


Activities

Research strong bridges

Group discussion on the type of bridge to build


Resources

Readings and research in groups


Outcomes

Presentation on strategies for resisting earthquake

Present the condition of the bridge location

How can we build a bridge for the Boise River that is strong enough to resist earthquake forces?


Entry Event 5-10 minutes

A teacher asks the following questions to prompt students thinking about an “earthquake”, and allows the students to share their experiences before showing video about earthquakes.

What is an “earthquake’?

Have any of you experienced an earthquake before? What does it like?

Have any of you watched any movies about earthquake? What does it like?

Does anyone know what is the cause of an earthquake?

Watch Dr. Andre Filiatrault’s earthquake video about what causes earthquakes (5:49 minutes).


What is an earthquake? and Why does an earthquake occur? Small-group Hands-on Scientific Inquiry 40 minutes two 20 minute sessions

Students (in a group of 2-3) will independently research on the topics of “what is an earthquake?” “What causes earthquake?” and some other scientific facts about earthquake. Some guiding questions are as follows:

What is an earthquake?

What causes earthquakes? And where do they happen?

Why does earth shake when there is an earthquake?

How are earthquakes recorded?

How do scientists measure the size of an earthquake?


Resources

What is an earthquake?

The Science of Earthquakes

What is an earthquake?

How is an earthquake caused?

Earthquakes

Earthquake Formation

Types of Earthquakes


Student Presentations 20 minutes two 10 minute sessions
(students presentations need to closely related to the sub questions and learning outcomes)

Suggested approach: Half of the students hang their posters up, and present their research to the remaining students. The poster items will reflect on earthquakes and their causes. After 10 minutes, the two groups of students switch roles with the original presenters who become the audience and the other half of the students who hung up their posters for their presentations. Students can also use Google slides, however the teacher needs to remind students of the limited time available to work on their poster/slides.


End of Session Reflection and Debriefing 5-10 minutes

Using the Problem Solving Process Diagram, the teacher will ask students to identify what kind of problem solving skills/process/computational thinking they used in this session and explain how they used it. The following are some sample questions that can guide the debrief.

What did I learn today?

What problem solving skills/processes or CT components in this diagram did I use today?

How did I use the problem solving skills/processes/CT components?

How can we build a bridge for the Boise River that is strong enough to resist earthquake forces?


Entry event 5-10 minutes

A teacher asks the following questions to prompt students thinking about an “earthquake”, and allows the students to share their experiences before showing video about earthquakes.

What is an “earthquake’?

What do we know about earthquakes?

How can we detect earthquakes? And why?

How do scientists measure the size of earthquakes?

Watch Dr. Andre Filiatrault’s earthquake video about what causes earthquakes (5:49 minutes).


What is an earthquake? and Why does an earthquake occur? Small-group Hands-on Scientific Inquiry 40 minutes two 20 minute sessions

Students will work in groups of two to research the damages of earthquake as well as other earthquake effects:

Why does earth shake when there is an earthquake?

What are the damages of an earthquake?

What are earthquake effects?

How can we detect an earthquake?


Resources

What is an Earthquake caused

Earthquake Formation

Types of Earthquakes

About Earthquake Effects

Earthquake Effects

Earthquake-Proof Buildings


Students Presentations 20 minutes two 10 minute sessions
(students' presentations need to be closely related to the subquestions and learning outcomes)

Suggested approach: Half of the students hang their posters up, and present their research to the remaining students. The poster items will reflect on earthquakes and their causes. After 10 minutes, the two groups of students switch roles with the original presenters who become the audience and the other half of the students who hung up their posters for their presentations. Students can also use Google slides, however the teacher needs to remind students of the limited time available to work on their poster/slides.


End of Session Reflection and Debriefing 5-10 minutes

Using the Problem Solving Process Diagram, the teacher will ask students to identify what kind of problem solving skills/process/computational thinking they used in this session and explain how they used it. The following are some sample questions that can guide the debrief.

What did I learn today?

What problem solving skills/processes or CT components in this diagram did I use today?

How did I use the problem solving skills/processes/CT components?

Session 2

Entry Event: Dr. Andre Filiatrault’s earthquake video about what causes an earthquake (5:49 minutes)

Resources Provided

The following resources will be provided for this inquiry activity:

Posters for Presentation

What is an Earthquake caused

Earthquake Formation

Types of Earthquakes

About Earthquake Effects

Earthquake Effects

Earthquake-Proof Buildings

Problem Solving Process Diagram