How to Make a Shake Table for Earthquake Studies

The next part of our Earth Science unit was earthquakes. Today’s post I’ll explain how we made our shake table, but before I do that I want to talk a minute about of some of the activities we did leading up to that. We used a lot of the activities from Engineering Adventures.  The kids’ first activity was building towers. Their first project was to build a tower of  index cards and 12 inches of tape that was 10 inches high and could support a stuffed animal. Their next project was to build a tower with sticky notes (and nothing else).  We talked about the importance of making earthquake-resistant buildings.  The kids learned about building codes and we talked about the building skeleton.  We peeked into the attic area and checked out the building skeleton of our house:


We talked quite a bit about building design and then we got to the *really* fun stuff!  Since I explained all this in a video, I’ll be brief here on the blog.  To build our shake table we used

  • foam
  • 2 large pieces of cardboard
  • heavy screws attached with duct tape
  • elastic
  • 2 PCV pipes that I cut down to be about 10 inches long

Earth Science Earthquakes - Making a Shake TableHere is a quick video of how we made it:

If for some reason that doesn’t work, you can click on the picture below and that’ll take you there:


If you watched the video, then you’ll see that from there, we went on to build the skeleton of a building out of marshmallows and spaghetti.


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Earth Science Unit - Earthquake Shake Table


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