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Build It Better

Build It Better is a series of lessons and activities about structures, how they behave in earthquakes, how engineers model buildings, and what engineers do to improve their performance.

The content of this module includes instructions for construction of an inexpensive shake table for classroom use, as well as activities to use it to test structures, and what to do with the results. In addition it includes information about how to use simple physical models and computer models to demonstrate the behavior of structures in earthquakes. Content also includes assessment ideas and extensions as well as how activities relate back to real world engineering .

teachers B uildings, bridges and other important structures such as wind turbines are all affected by the ground shaking in an earthquake. The amount the buildings shake depends on building characteristics such as height, building material (for example steel or wood) and seismic details that engineers include in their designs. The study of how the buildings respond and how much they shake is called structural dynamics. Engineers use physical and computer models to study the behavior of buildings.

Engineers have many options to improve the performance of buildings including bracing systems, based isolation, and dampers, to name a few.

"Build It Better" Learning Modules

Below you will find a document featuring lesson plans for K-12 classrooms relating to structural design as part of the "Build it Better" series. You may download or print these lessons with the icons below the flipbook.

To zoom in on a page, double-click the flipbook. Double-clicking again will zoom out.

Build It Better series

The learning objects available in the list below allow students to explore basic concepts of structural dynamics and structural design.