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    earthquake in a box
    By Julianne

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    One thing I've done is build an earthquake in a box. Get a shallow box (a paperbox lid is perfect). Use a piece of pine or other board inside the lid. It should fit with about 1 - 2 inches of space between the board and the edge of the box. Tape the lid down onto a sturdy table. You can now create an "earthquake" by placing your fingers at the top edges of the board and wiggling it. The box sides prevent kids from wiggling it TOO much. (They are the "control" for this experiment.)

    Now the kids are given materials with which to create a building. You can specify the dimensions of the building they must create. But don't give them anything to hold their building together - no glue, nails, tape, etc. Its structure must make it sturdy. Students I've done this with have used wooden blocks, craft sticks or cardboard. Lots of other craft materials might also work. You can choose their materials for them, making everyone use the same stuff, or you can let them be creative. After they've given their buildings a good shake, have them evaluate what went wrong and what went right, and WHY. You can also give them time to redesign.

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