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Oregon State - NEES Tsunami Research Facility Hosts EOT Activities

Posted in Announcements

NEES Tsunami Research Facility presents two exciting educational activities with tremendous positive public response: Tsunami Structure Challenge and Mom's Weekend Open House.

Oregon State's NEES Tsunami Research Facility conducted a Tsunami Structure Challenge week during April 26-30, 2010 for middle and high school students across Oregon, attracting 504 participants. Participants designed, built and tested tsunami resistant structures constructed from kits developed and assembled at the facility. The event is integrated into the state's science and engineering curriculum, satisfying the standard for engineering design in which students are exposed to engineering concepts – saving lives by building vertical evacuation shelters. The 8th grade standard 8.4 requires students to learn that engineering design is a process of identifying needs, defining problems, identifying design criteria and constraints, developing solutions, and evaluating proposed solutions. Students also learned about earthquake-generated tsunamis and the likelihood of such an event striking the Oregon coast due to the proximity of the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Enthusiasm and excitement was evident as shelters were tested, often to failure, although a number of the structures outlasted the biggest tsunami wave the Tsunami Wave Basin wavemaker was able to deliver.

Following the exciting Tsunami Structure challenge week, the NEES Tsunami Research Facility presented an open house for a“Mom's Weekend" on May 1. The open house provides the public with the opportunity to see both wavemakers in operation, as well as exposes participants to engineering concepts and tsunami research underway at the facility. Over a three-hour period, 500 people visited the facility, enjoying 20-30 minute tours covering five stations. The site trains both graduate students and undergraduate engineering "ambassadors" as tour guides, providing them with experience in presenting and teaching engineering concepts to the public. A current NEES research project underway at the facility provided visitors with a first-hand view of large scale tsunami research as well as descriptions of the scientific objectives. The site holds two to three open houses a year and typically serves more than 3000 visitors annually at the facility.