Quake Table FLEXCART

The Quake Table FLEXCART allows users to explore the effects of the shifting movement of plate tectonics on physical structures by placing buildings made of various material on the Quake Table FLEXCART. Students can manually change the degree of intensity of the seismic wave activity of the table.

By changing the force of the wave, users can test the structures they have built and explore the engineering concepts that will increase their structures ability to withstand large magnitude seismic waves.

Quake Table

STEM Concepts Learned from Use of Quake Table FLEXCART: Grade Bands 3-5

Geology of Earthquakes: Students are introduced to the concept of tectonic plates, the different types of plate boundaries, and the geographic patterns of earthquake occurrence on the planet.

Mechanics of Earthquakes: Students use a hands-on model to explore the movement of plates at faults which produce earthquakes.

Science of Waves: Students will learn how to describe waves (wavelength, amplitude, frequency), how waves are involved with earthquakes, and how to measure earthquake waves.

Earthquake Engineering: Students explore the factors which contribute to a building being able to withstand an earthquake, including earthquake proofing such as a Tuned Mass Damper or Base Isolation. Working in collaborative groups, students use the engineering design process to design and refine a building to withstand an earthquake on the Quake Table using limited materials.

Models: Students will use the Quake Table FLEXCART model, a form of exhibit technology, to explain and observe earthquakes. Students will also use data and observations to evaluate the effectiveness of the model.

Human Impact: Students will learn about some notable earthquakes of the past few decades, understand why engineering for earthquakes is so important, and if they live in an earthquake hazard zone, practice the correct response to an earthquake.

Math Calculations: Distance calculations and comparisons.

Computer Science: TinkerCAD™️ is used in this unit to help students build an earthquake proof building based on the factors they have learned and discussed and will now apply as they design their building using this software.

Vernier Technology: The use of Vernier Software, Probes and Sensors allow students to collect, analyze and interpret real-time scientific data from their Quake Table investigation. The Vernier Go Direct® Motion Detector pairs well with the Vernier Go Direct® Force and Acceleration Sensor. They can be purchased separately from Vernier.com and used with the Quake Table FLEXCART.

STEM Careers associated with the Quake Table Unit Plan:

  • Seismologist
  • Geologist
  • Earth Scientist
  • Geophysicist
  • Volcanologist
  • Civil Engineer
  • Structural Engineer
  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Marine Geophysicist
  • Geodesist
  • Geomagnetist

Quake Table FLEXCART Specs:

Quake Table Specs

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The Quake Table FLEXCART includes a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) aligned unit plan for educational use. The unit plan includes individual lesson plans and all accompanying worksheets needed in order to teach the unit. Each lesson includes the direct NGSS alignment, a grade appropriate scientific explanation of the background for the lesson for the teacher, the activity, a way to extend the lesson and the take away. We currently offer Quake Table supplemental curriculum written for Grade Bands K-2, 3-5 and 6-8. Grade Bands 9-12 are in process of development. The following lists some of the NGSS Topics and Performance Expectations included:

Topic: Waves: Waves and Information

Performance Expectations:
4-PS4-1: Develop a model of waves to describe patterns in terms of amplitude and wavelength and that waves can cause objects to move.

Topic: 3-5 Earth Systems: Processes That Shape the Earth

Performance Expectations:
4-ESS2-2: Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.
4-ESS3-2: Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans.

Topic: 3-5 Engineering Design

Performance Expectations:
3-5-ETS1-1: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
3-5-ETS1-2: Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
3-5-ETS1-3: Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.