Year 8 students designed and tested models of ‘earthquake-proof’ buildings after discussing plate tectonics in Humanities. Students from 8W researched the massive quake in Kobe, Japan, that killed nearly 6,500 people in 1995 and tried to work out which design features made some buildings less likely to collapse than others.
The students formed into teams to design and construct models from cardboard, tubes and bottles. Each structure was placed onto testing apparatus where it was shaken for 30 seconds to see how it withstood the force.
Ben Healey, Maciek Duczak and Harry Johnston collaborated on the project. Harry said: ‘Firstly we did research on a computer and then worked as a group to design and build our model.’ Ben added: ‘We started with a large base to give the structure more stability and then it got smaller as its height increased.’
Mr Bidwell said: ‘Each model had to have a footprint around the size of an A3 sheet of paper and stand between 40 and 45cm high. In Japan, which is one of the most tectonically active places on earth, there is a real problem with earthquakes and a shortage of space so architects have to build structures that are high as well as safe. We have been researching and testing the theories behind that. The students are coming up with ideas themselves and many are building using triangular shapes which are stronger and more stable than other configurations.’