Earthquake Engineering Curriculum For K-12

Professor Lelli Van Den Einde

Current Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) calls for introducing engineering design principles as early as Pre-K. Age appropriate, hands-on project based learning activities are being developed for K-12 that are aligned with standards, are well documented, and can be easily taught to a range of teachers for broad dissemination. The modules lead students through hands-on and research activities to learn basic earthquake engineering design principles and make use of an electronic instructional shaking table that allows students to test structures under representative earthquake loading. A project geared for 4th-6th grades requires students to build K’Nex™ buildings, while the high school curriculum requires students to design and build seismically 
Spatial Visualization Training Using Touchscreen Technology
A Spatial Visualization Trainer (SVT) App was developed for an iPad to enable students to freehand sketch isometrics and orthographic projections. The App consists of an algorithm that automatically grades each sketch. When errors are made, students can redraw their sketch or take a peek at the solution, which highlights the lines in their sketch that are correct or incorrect. The objective of the App is to teach spatial visualization and freehand sketching skills, which have been show to increase retention in STEM majors, especially among under-represented and women students. A unique aspect of this App compared to other eLearning tools is that the sketching assignments are not multiple-choice, and thus require students to synthesize their complete solution. As a result, data that tracks how engaged students are at different stages of an assignment can be collected. The App has been integrated into a 1-unit Spatial Visualization class to assess learning gains and provide feedback on it in terms of usability, functionality, and quality of sketching assignments. The goal of the study is to demonstrate the potential and provide guidance on how to further improve eLearning tools to teach spatial visualization as well as other topics. A K-6 version of the App is also under development.
sound timber, masonry and reinforced concrete structures, structures to avoid soft story mechanisms, base isolated structures, structures with tuned-mass dampers, and soil or foundation systems to avoid liquefaction. Students design and construct small-scale models and test them on a shake table, develop predictions of structural response, and compare expected structural behavior with measured response observed through the experiments. These curricula allows students to learn about the engineering design process, to observe failure mechanisms and interpret data from testing, to learn how to define a design problem in terms of success criteria and constraints, to draw specific evidencebased conclusions about design and testing and iterate on the design.