School earthquake projects made out of spaghetti

Written by kahlea pendleton
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School earthquake projects made out of spaghetti
(Conséquences d'un séisme image by Eva Lemonenko from

If you're looking for ways to do a school earthquake project, it is possible to have your students create an earthquake project out of spaghetti. The students should be separated into groups of bidding "construction companies" for this project. Each group will come up with a building structure that can stand against a powerful earthquake. Whoever has the best structure will be "hired" and receive a reward.

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Forming a Company

Each team should come up with a name for their company and design the company's logo using paper or a cutout paper board. Team members should vote who will be the architect (drawer), the treasurer (finance), construction engineer (the person building the spaghetti building) and project manager (manager of the building and cleaning after work).

Draw Your Design

Every team member should provide ideas to the lead architect on how to create their spaghetti building. They must design a spaghetti construction that will last at least 10 seconds of a fake earthquake.

Purchase Your Material

As the teacher, you will act as a supplier of construction materials. Each group will purchase materials from you with fake money. Develop a chart that has three columns and six rows. The labelled columns will be item, cost per item and item number. Give each group a set amount of money to spend on construction materials. The treasurer of the group will need to take note of all expenses of materials purchased to create a spaghetti structure.

Build Spaghetti Stucture

After the design is drawn, it's time for the company to build their design. The spaghetti structure must closely resemble the drawing. Students cannot create an entirely new design. Since uncooked spaghetti will be used, use masking tape, mini marshmallows, big marshmallows and a cardboard base to build and place the structure. The building should be able to hold a golf ball on the roof of the structure which needs to be 10 inches in height above the tabletop and it has to be two stories high. Make sure that the spaghetti structure is strong enough, but not stiff. Once it is completely constructed, clean up the area. Inspect each team's structure.

Presenting the Project

Each group will present their spaghetti building structure to the class and give a mini presentation on how they came up with their spaghetti structure and quote some resources. Use an earthquake machine (any mechanical vibrating tool) to see if each team's spaghetti structure can hold up for at least 10 seconds without breaking or collapsing. You can present a trophy to those who built a successful spaghetti building structure to make the project even more interesting.

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