Base Isolation for Earthquake Resistance
This document includes two activities related to earthquake base isolation. Learners explore earthquake hazards and damage to buildings by constructing model buildings and subjecting the buildings to ground vibration (shaking similar to earthquake vibrations) on a small shake table. Base isolation a powerful tool for earthquake engineering. It is meant to enable a building to survive a potentially devastating seismic impact through a proper initial design or subsequent modifications. The buildings are constructed by two- or three-person learner teams.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Learners should know what earthquakes are.
How the activity is situated in the course
This activity can largely stand alone once learners know what earthquakes are. However in a larger unit on earthquakes it should probably come later when the topic moves from understanding what earthquakes are to how they affect our society and address steps we can take to mitigate earthquake risk. Works well in conjunction with Build a Better Wall and BOSS Model: Building Oscillation Seismic Simulation
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Learners will be able to:
- Explain what base isolation is and different methods that are used.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
- Design model buildings with base isolation elements.
- Conduct base isolation experiments and analyze results.
Other skills goals for this activity
- Working in groups
- Using physical models
Description and Teaching Materials
See attached file for educator notes, NGSS alignment, links to supporting resources, and student exercises.
Base Isolation for Earthquake Resistance Activity (Acrobat (PDF) 478kB May20 18)
- Presentation: Earthquake Basics - some concepts related to building design for earthquakes are included in this presentation
- Animation: Buildings In Earthquakes—Construction affects the intensity
Teaching Notes and Tips
See above educator notes.
Formative assessment of student understanding can be gathered from classroom observation and discussions with individuals or small groups.
The student exercise serves as the summative assessment for the activity. Some questions have clearly correct answers. Teachers can develop a simple grading scheme for open ended questions such as two points for thorough and correct answer, one point for partially correct, and zero for incorrect.