Build A Better Wall

Build a Better wall is an activity for students to help with earthquake mitigation. 

This activity helps students learn how diagonal braces, shear walls, and rigid connections strengthen a structure to carry forces resulting from earthquake shaking. It can be done as a demonstration, or as group projects in a classroom. It takes preparation to assemble and drill the parts, but worth it for a permanent classroom tool.

Developed by FEMA for their "Seismic Sleuths" instructional booklet. Additional "Earthquake Safety at Home" . Additional safety information is available on their website: http://www.fema.gov/earthquake-safety-home.

 

Two additional activities on "base isolation" are included to learn more about protecting large structures.

This activity is a good bridge between the "Earthquake Machine" and the "BOSS Model".


Keypoints:

Students will:

  • Learn the structural elements of a building
  • Describe how the structural elements carry the horizontal and vertical loads
  • Describe the use of diagonal braces and shear walls
  • Learn about base isolation for tall buildings


Level: Novice

15MB
Share it

Related Videos

Demonstration by Dr. Robert Butler on how to design a structure to withstand shaking during an earthquake. This video walks you through the parts needed to construct the model, and shows you how to build it. 

Video Novice

What can you do to protect a building from earthquake shaking?  This “Build a Better Wall” classroom activity is designed to allow students to experiment with methods to build shear strength into buildings to withstand an earthquake. Uses simple materials to engineer shear walls.

 

 

Video Novice

Related Animations

All buildings have a natural, period, or resonance, which is the number of seconds it takes for the building to naturally vibrate back and forth.  The ground also has a specific resonant frequency. Hard bedrock has higher frequencies softer sediments.  If the period of ground motion matches the natural resonance of a building, it will undergo the largest oscillations possible and suffer the greatest damage.

Animation Novice

Highly generalized animation reflects the arrivals of P, S, and surface waves to 3 closely spaced buildings. Exaggerated movement of the buildings reflects the relative motion recorded by the seismograms.

Animation Novice