Earthquake-Proof House Project
Earthquakes and other natural disasters can damage or destroy man-made structures. Imagine that you and your teammates work for a company that specializes in building disaster-proof-structures. You have just been asked by city planners to design and build an earthquake proof sky scraper that will be built in a city where earthquakes sometimes occur. The city planners would like to see and test a prototype of your design along with the designs of other companies before choosing which company to go with. They will select the best design for the construction of the sky scraper.
For this assignment you will be part of a team of four students. Each team will design, build and test a prototype model structure made out of uncooked spaghetti sticks. Your final structure will be tested on a specially built shake-table designed to simulate the stresses that occur during earthquakes. Your structure has to be able to withstand a 10 second earthquake without collapsing. You will be competing against other teams by attempting to build the best structure. Your team will provide Malone with a presentation prior to the final test where you will discuss your Internet research and how it helped you design your structure. You will also present your blue prints and describe the various features of your structure. Additionally, you will have a limited budget to purchase materials for your structure.
In order to ensure diversity in building styles and a maximum amount of materials per group, you must purchase your materials using a purchase order.
The following products are available for purchase:
Product Cost (per item) Item Number
Spaghetti sticks $100 SPA-1234
Mini marshmallows $50 MAR-5678
Masking tape (2.5cm) $25 TAP-9000
Cardboard base $100 CRB-6000
Egg (Grade A small) Provided EGG-1
Assign teams and go over assignment in detail with team.
Start online research.
Continue with online research.
Work on blue print.
Begin building inspection.
Finish construction and building inspection.
Make modifications and have new building inspection.
Earthquake testing. Your structure must be ready to be tested at the start of the class.
Begin analytical report.
Budget and Finances
- Your total budget for your project is $4875.
- Teams exceeding their project budget will be penalized by a 10% deduction to the overall project grade for every $100 in overdraft.
- It is the treasurer's responsibility to keep accurate financial records and to always know exactly what your bank balance is.
Your grade will be based on this grading rubric. You should thoroughly review the grading rubric before you begin. Make sure you and your team mates understand what criteria will be used to determine the team's grade. Points can be deducted on an individual basis. These deductions will only affect the individual and not the entire team.
Step ONE: Assign Individual Roles
Select an individual from your team to fullfill each of the following roles:
- Architect: Responsible for developing the architectural drawing (blueprint) of your structure.
- Treasurer: Responsible for financial matters for the team (e.g. budgeting, accounting, completing purchase orders, etc.) and for conducting all purchases.
- Technology Director: Responsible for managing the collection and presentation of internet research data.
- Project Manager: Responsible for obtaining and managing building materials and clean-up.
Step TWO: Conduct Research
Your team will be using the Internet to research information that could assist you in your project. You should try to find websites that provide information on building structures that are able to withstand earthquakes or other natural disasters. Search for ideas that will help you engineer and design your structure
Step THREE: Prepare a Blueprint
Once you have researched about building safe structures it is time to draw up your blueprint for the sky scraper. Each team will create an architectural drawing (blueprint) using a sheet of graph paper. Your blueprints have to be meticulously drawn (using a straight edge/ruler), to scale (the scale must be indicated), all measurements must be included, all details have to labelled and explained. The blueprint has to include a sideview. The drawing must be easy to understand yet highly detailed. The final structure must closely match your blueprints or your team may lose points towards the final grade. It is highly advised to write the amount of materials needed on the blueprint as well.
Step FOUR: Purchase Materials
Identify the amount of materials your team will need to construct your building. The Treasurer must write up the purchase order for the materials. You do not need to spend all of your budget right away, but attempt to get as many materials to complete the building as possible.
Step FIVE: Construction
All team members must participate in the construction process. The Project Manager is responsible for storage of the team's structure and materials in the assigned storage locations. Be careful not to waste or unnecessarily damage your materials. Clean up your area by the end of each class. You may consider taking pictures of your structure during the construction process so you can include these in the final report.
- Spaghetti sticks may not be broken into pieces smaller than 1 cm.
- Marshmallows must remain intact. They cannot be torn or broken into smaller pieces.
- Do not eat any of the building materials.
- You may not tape your egg to the structure.
- You must only use the materials your team purchased.
- You may not bring your own materials or use the materials from another team.
- You may not tape your structure to the earthquake machine.
- The cardboard board can only be used as a base and cannot be cut or pierced.
- You structure must be taped to the cardboard base.
Step SIX: Building Inspection
Once your structure is completed and before it can be tested on the shake table it has to pass a building inspection. During the building inspection your completed structure will be assessed and compared against the blueprints. Your structure will also be inspected to ensure it complies with all the rules of the assignment. During the building inspection, the teacher may provide recommendations for changes before the final test. If your team makes any changes, the team will have to schedule a new building inspection before the final test.
Step SEVEN: Presentation
Your team will provide a presentation that must be turned in through your google classroom. This is not a presentation in front of class, rather a slideshow providing Malone with a rationale for the chosen design, specifically explaining why your design will support the egg and withstand the earthquake. You must also explain how the information provided helped you through your project and to design your project. You must cite your sources of all the websites that you used for your final structure and presentation. Include any pictures taken along the way.
Step EIGHT: The Earthquake Test
Your final structure will be tested using a modified shake table. Your structure has to be able to withstand a 10 second earthquake without collapsing. In case of a tie the remaining structures will be tested in subsequent rounds of increasingly stronger earthquakes until the best structure remains.
Step NINE: Final Report
The last part of this assignment is for each student to write an analytical report addressing the following prompts. Each prompt must be addressed completely in a minimum of one paragraph per prompt.
- Describe the structure your team built and provide explanations for the choice of design and the various features.
- Analyze the construction process. What went well and what mistakes were made? How can the construction process be improved?
- Analyze the outcome of the earthquake test. How did your structure perform and why? Did your structure fail or not and why?