Technology: Earthquake machine

Earthquake Central

Room 13 was excited to experience new technology developed by Quakecore N.Z who are world-leading researchers in earthquake resilience. Our challenge today was to create a structure that could stand up to 45 seconds on the shake machine. The shake machine has three settings and these settings represent the severity of different earthquakes around the country like Christchurch.

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Matua setting the shake machine

Whaea Ann-Marie and Matua Benoir came to show us the shake machine and also explained how Maori view earthquakes. They also related earthquakes to the country we are learning about, and that is Mexico.  They talked about how houses are made of adobe bricks in Mexico and made a comparison to some of New Zealand houses being made of bricks too. Today they have set up our tables with elements that we can build a structure with and test on the shake machine.

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After going into groups the students had to work together to plan a structure and use the skewers and connectors that were provided. They were very focused in most groups to achieve an outcome and a structure that would stand up for 45 seconds.  Most groups were able to participate and contribute to the structure building process and some groups appointed different students to take on leadership, organiser and timekeeper roles within their groups. 

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As groups completed their task within a time frame, they tested their wooden structures and observed what happened and the damage that occurred.  They discussed what it might have been like if their structures were made out of blocks? This questioning developed their understanding that structures need to move with the earth and not be rigid as more damage will occur.

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Materials needed to make a structure

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Materials needed to make a structure

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Setting up the shake table

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Setting up the tables for students

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Talk about the structure to build

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Testing structures on shake machine

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Testing their structures on the shake machine

Indie J: We thought that using a single story structure would be better than a two story.

Toby: Our structure only had one stick that came apart on half strength on the shake machine.  Now we know a square house structure made of wood is ok in the event of an earthquake because the wood is strong

 Josef: I learnt that you need a good structure so it doesn’t fall down in an earthquake.  There were also 3 levels of shake on the machine.

Hector: I learnt that everyone has to listen to instructions otherwise the time runs out and we have not built anything.  

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Listen to the instructions

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Discussing what structure to build

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Discuss the structures

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Keywords: Inquiry, Integration, Technology, Social Science, Science-Material world, Student Voice, Maori Myths and legends.

Hoping it will stay together