Monday, January 21, 2013

Can You Survive Earthquake Tighe?

My students have been studying the Earth's land and water features in science. While going over earthquakes I decided to shake things up a little bit (no pun intended). I originally got this idea from another teaching blog, Hojo's Teaching Adventures. You can select the following link to see her original post  http://hojosteacherstore.blogspot.com/2012/12/earth-science-experiment-fun.html. If you haven't checked out this blog, it is great and full of wonderful ideas. Anyways, I really liked her idea of creating earthquake proof buildings using marshmallows and toothpicks. So I tweaked her idea a little bit to make this activity work with my third graders, and they loved it!

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.


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