Hands-on Activity: Drum Roll Please

Contributed by: Adventure Engineering, Colorado School of Mines

Photo shows a young man standing by an easel with a cavern photo and a map on it.
Students present their ideas on underground cavern shelters
Copyright © (man with easel) Microsoft Corporation, (cavern) Lawrence Berkeley Lab, (map) Adventure Engineering, Colorado School of Mines http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2012/05/16/surf-intro/


Student teams commit to a final decision on the location they recommend for safe underground cavern shelter for the citizens of Alabraska. They prepare and deliver final presentations to defend their final decisions to the class.
This engineering curriculum meets Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Engineering Connection

In the real world, engineering teams spend much time researching and analyzing so they have the information needed to select the best design option. Then, engineers routinely prepare final reports and give presentation to clients and customers to explain and defend their recommended design solutions.

Learning Objectives

  • Analyze data from several days' worth of work to make a final decision.
  • Use experimental data and logic to defend a decision.
  • Communicate via a formal presentation.

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Drum Roll Please

Continuing the Asteroid Impact challenge, student teams analyze their data and commit to recommendations for locating the Alabraska underground shelter caverns. They prepare and make presentations to justify and defend their final decisions to the class.

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Educational Standards

Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.

All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).

In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.

  • Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Develop and communicate an evidence based scientific explanation around one or more factors that change Earth's surface (Grade 5) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Analyze and interpret data identifying ways Earth's surface is constantly changing through a variety of processes and forces such as plate tectonics, erosion, deposition, solar influences, climate, and human activity (Grade 5) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Gather, analyze, and communicate data that explains Earth's plates, plate motions, and the results of plate motions (Grade 7) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
Suggest an alignment not listed above

Materials List

  • Drum Roll Please! Worksheet
  • Design Presentation and Report Guidelines
  • (optional) computers with Microsoft PowerPoint application (for presentation creation)
  • (optional) large-size map of Alabraska for the front of the classroom


You have all worked hard to decide the best place for the cavern. The governor will choose only one location though, and she will base her decision on your presentations!


  1. Day 1: Start by discussing what will be done today: They will analyze their data and make a final decision, figure out how to defend that decision, and prepare a class presentation to explain it.
  2. Give students time to work in their groups, writing a final report and preparing a presentation (guided by the worksheet and the design presentation and report guidelines). Facilitate as necessary.
  3. Make sure all groups have cavern cut-outs to put on the big map at the front of the room before they give their presentations (or some other way to illustrate this information to the class).
  4. If possible, have students prepare their presentations using Microsoft PowerPoint software. Reports and presentations should be finished by the end of the class period, or assigned as homework, to be done by Day 2 of this activity.
  5. Day 2: Have student engineering teams give their presentations to the class. Call each group individually to place its cut-out on the big map and give its presentation.
  6. After each group presents, give several minutes for Q&A.



  • Review students' written reports on the worksheets to gauge their ability to synthesize and summarize the data and information.
  • Review student team oral presentations using a combination of peer and instructor evaluations to gauge their mastery of the concepts.

Activity Extensions

With what students have learned from other team presentations, critiques and class discussion, have them reflect on how they could improve their cavern designs.


© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2005 Colorado School of Mines

Supporting Program

Adventure Engineering, Colorado School of Mines


Adventure Engineering was supported by National Science Foundation grant nos. DUE 9950660 and GK-12 0086457. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Last modified: May 25, 2017