This is a 5 part series designated for 5th - 8th grade students.
This engineering educational module on the behavior of piles in soft clays during earthquake loading seeks to introduce engineering as a viable career to 5th-8th graders and teach students how geotechnical engineers design foundations in marginal soils to minimize damage to infrastructure during earthquakes. A five hour module is presented to simulate real-world behavior of piles in soft clays during earthquake loading, and visually show the improvement in how these same piles behave after being stabilized with a deep soil mixing technique. In this module, soft soil is simulated by using Jell-o®, piles are simulated using Slim Jims® and soil stabilization is simulated using peanut butter, marshmallows or cheese. Each student group has to design a stabilization procedure to strengthen the piles. The students compete to see who can design a pile with the least amount of deflection for the least amount of money. This five-hour module is divided into hour long segments for ease of application.
Credits and References
Cerato, A.B., Taghavi, A., Muraleetharan, K.K. and Miller, G.A. (2011). Understanding and Improving the Seismic Behavior of Pile Foundations in Soft Clays: An Educational Module. Report submitted to NEES-Comm, 80 pp. (https://nees.org/resources/2705)
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