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Middle School Students Study Earthquake Engineering As Part Of Class Exercise

Many areas of the globe are prone to earthquakes. Here in the Mid-South region, we sit on something known as the New Madrid Seismic Zone. The 150-mile long seismic zone extends into five states and includes West Tennessee.

Sixth grade Lausanne students are studying tectonic plates and the Earth’s layers and composition in Science class. As part of that study, they have also been in STEAM researching structure design, specific types of braces and joints that are more resistant to movement. This week they have been working in the STEAM lab to construct earthquake-resistant structures. 

The process includes creating blueprints, building the structures and testing the finished products on shake tables. 

For students, it is a chance to put into practice ideas they have for creating buildings that can stand up to earthquakes. 

"This opportunity to incorporate the engineering principles of design into the science of the Earth’s tectonic plate movements allows students to make real-world connections, to be a part of creating solutions and to explore possible career interests as future engineers, architects, builders or scientists," teacher Brandi Vanzant said.