I divided my students into groups and posted the following problem on the Promethean Board for the students to solve.
I gave the students seven minutes to plan their first structure using 20 toothpicks, and ten marshmallows. I really like using the timer from http://www.classtools.net/education-games-php/timer. It provides the students with a musical and visual reminder of the time. For this activity, I used Mozart Symphony 21 because it is about seven minutes long. After the timer went off students had to stop working on their structures.
Now for the fun part! I went around and tried to destroy their structures by shaking the desks the structures were placed on. I timed how long each structure was able to stand, and gave students an opportunity to modify and rebuild their structures. I repeated this step one more time. After three tries, all of the students had earthquake proof buildings!
This activity was a great way to review vocabulary and apply skills that we had previously learned in our lessons. I will definitely be using this activity again in the future!
For more Earth's Features Unit ideas go to the following link, http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Earths-Features-Unit-Essentials, to view my Earth's Features Unit Essentials product on TeacherspayTeachers.