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Earthquake Engineering Modules for K-12 Learning

By Shirley Dyke1, Kevin Z Truman

1. Purdue University

Published on


This document documents a teaching module containing a series of lessons that are appropriate for educating K-12 students in fundamental engineering principles. The lessons have been developed over the course of several years, expanded upon and refined. In principle, any of the modules could be used as a stand alone, one-time lesson to supplement one specific academic area such as forces and vectors or building fundamentals. Alternatively, the full module could be used as a continuous series of lessons over a 8-10 week period. Supplemental worksheets, learning activities and presentations are included herein to provide a great deal of the lesson's substance and opportunities for active learning. The entire set of modules is also available in Spanish. 

Lessons 1-6 culminate in a design project. Teams of students will design and construct a balsawood building. A scorecard is provided for students to encourage them to be creative and yet understand practical issues associated with construction and design. When a shake table is available, the project can also become a seismic design demonstration. Ideally this module, presented as a whole or individually, will satisfy some of the educational requirements and standards of the classroom in which it is offered.



Graduate students with significant contributions: Waleed Barnawi, Ellen Taylor, Leif Johnson, Nestor Castaneda 

Funding for these activities has been provided by the National Science Foundation under DUE-0618605 and 9950340. 

Learning Objectives and Standards

Links to the National Science Standards and to individual State Science Standards are available by using this link:

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Shirley Dyke; Kevin Z Truman (2011), "Earthquake Engineering Modules for K-12 Learning ,"

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