Cover image
Lesson

Earthquake Simulator (micro:bit)

Strawbees Team

In this two, 45 minute parts lesson, simulate the movements caused by different earthquakes through the construction and testing of a shake table. To connect this build to the real-world, students will hypothesize if their shake table tower could survive a natural hazard in the context of a specific geographical location.

8-14+
90m
:
United States 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Cardboard
Earth Science
Earthquakes
Engineering Design
Natural hazards
Student journal
Guide - Simple Machines and Linkages

Overview and Objectives

Lesson Structure

When students go through this lesson in each section, the objectives they will learn are:

Part 1 (45 minutes)

  • Warm-up – Recognize what happens to the earth's tectonic plates when they shift.
  • Imagine – Explain the causes of an earthquake and examine the destruction it brings to a city.
  • Create – Simulate seismic waves with servo movement. 

Part 2 (45 minutes)

  • Build – Build a shake table simulating different amplitudes.
  • Reflect – Reflect on creations and understanding of topics covered.
  • Challenges – Opportunities to extend your creation to challenge your thinking.

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Construct a lateral moving shake table that simulates the movements in the ground caused by an actual earthquake. 
  • Adapt designs to reduce devastation by earthquakes (or natural hazards)
  • Model the impact of natural hazards on structures such as houses and apartment buildings.
  • Propose a solution for cities in order to reduce the impact of natural hazards on their infrastructure.
  • Creatively code a servo motor’s starting and ending position to investigate different distances in ground movements, also known as amplitude.
  • Explore how this ground movement can occur at various speeds by tinkering with the timing of your servo program.

Structure

When starting Earthquake Simulator, you will be able to:

Part 1 (45 minutes)

  • Recognize what happens to the earth's tectonic plates when they shift.
  • Explain the causes of an earthquake and examine the destruction it brings to a city.
  • Simulate seismic waves with servo movement. 

Part 2 (45 minutes)

  • Build a shake table simulating different amplitudes.
  • Reflect on creations and understanding of topics covered.
  • Opportunities to extend your creation to challenge your thinking.