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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Science Essential Standard 4.E.2.3

NC Science Essential Standard 4.E.2.3
 Give examples of how the surface of the earth changes due to slow processes such as erosion and weathering, and rapid processes such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.

Open any science book and you'll find plenty of ideas for modeling erosion and weathering.  One of my favorite things to do is take students outside after a heavy rain and look for signs of erosion, weathering, and deposition. But, none of this makes the STEM and career connections I want to afford my students.    

I specifically wanted to stay away from the typical, "let's make a volcano" that isn't really a volcano but more of a chemical reaction (vinegar/baking soda) experiment.  So I went looking for something specifically geared toward an interactive simulation of an earthquake.

I found just what I was looking for (and then some) at Teach Engineering.
I have a feeling I will be referencing this website a LOT!  They have tons of great ideas for bringing the "E" into my STEM lab.  

Here are some pictures of my students' work.  

They engineered buildings using 30 mini-marshmallows and 30 toothpicks. 

 The buildings were placed on a pan of Jell-O® and then we tapped the bottom of the pan and timed how long the building stood. 

The results weren't always what they expected.

Notice that their journals were close by so that my "engineers" could draw diagrams of their buildings and record the length of time that it stood up to the earthquake.


 You can get the lesson plan for yourself and try it out without breaking the bank. 
If you do, please leave me a message in the comment section below.  I would love to hear about your experience.


  1. What a great activity, I will definitely have to do this with my students! I just wanted to let you know I added your blog to my Great Blogs page :)

    Science for Kids Blog

  2. I did this with my students today as an activity that connected to our Journeys story, "The Earth Dragon Awakes", my kiddos LOVED it! They had so much fun designed and testing their buildings, thank you so much for sharing!