XENIA — It’s a project that would make TV’s MacGyver proud.
Students in Amy Garringer’s science classes at Greeneview Middle School were given 30 straws, 100 paper clips, 20 straight pins, and two meters of string and were tasked with erecting a structure that could withstand a simulated earthquake. The building has to fit on a 25-by-25 centimeter cardboard base and must to be at least 36 centimeters tall with two stories of at least 18 centimeters each.
The activity ties in with the unit on plate tectonics, which includes seismic waves and the impact they can have.
Garringer will use a shake table Friday, Jan. 26 to test all the projects. The successful ones will support the weight of at least one 250-gram sand bag without collapsing and will stay together on the shake table for at least 10 seconds.
“Since triangles were really strong, we used a triangle as the base,” said Catie Macauley. “The straws aren’t very sturdy as it is. We thought about putting paper clips inside the straws to make them stronger. I think it might work pretty well.”
Aaron Schrand and Chad Kimbler anchored the paper clips to the bottom of the second story to provide reinforcement.
“We saw a picture of a building that sort of looked like this,” Schrand said. “We think this is going to do really well. We have good hopes for this.”
Points are awarded based on the design of the structure in addition to how well it withstands simulated earthquakes. The building in each class that can hold the most weight and remain standing after a major earthquake receives 20 bonus points.
It’s the first time for the structure-building activity. But Garringer’s students are somewhat familiar with earthquake-related topics.
“We’ve made seismographs before,” Garringer said. “(And) I’ve thought about doing (this project) for a while. I like to watch them think. I like to watch them interact.”
In addition to learning about earthquakes and safe structures, students also learned to work in teams and how to use a process to complete a task.
Hannah Litke, who partnered with Macauley also thinks there could be a bigger-picture lesson learned.
“I feel like were learning that we can make a difference in the world,” she said. “By doing something smaller like this, maybe someone will find this interesting and go on to do this later in life.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.