Hands-on Activity: Recommendations & Presentations: Drum Roll Please

Contributed by: Adventure Engineering, Colorado School of Mines

A photograph shows a young man standing by an easel with a poster-sized cavern photo and map on it.
Students present their Asteroid Impact projects with their location recommendations for building 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/


Continuing the Asteroid Impact challenge, student teams analyze their data and commit to final decisions on the locations they recommend for locating safe underground cavern shelters for the citizens of Alabraska. They prepare and deliver final presentations to the class to explain and defend their final recommendations.
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, communication is critical. Engineers routinely prepare final reports and give presentations to clients and customers to explain and defend their recommended design solutions.

Pre-Req Knowledge

If available, encourage students to use Microsoft® PowerPoint® to create their presentations. This requires some familiarity with the PowerPoint application.

Learning Objectives

After this activity, students should be able to:

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

More Curriculum Like This

Identifying Possible Underground Cavern Locations

Students apply their knowledge of scales and areas to determine the best locations in Alabraska for the underground caverns. They cut out rectangular paper pieces to represent caverns to scale with the maps and place the cutouts on the maps to determine possible locations.

Simple Machines and Modern Day Engineering Analogies

Students apply the mechanical advantages and problem-solving capabilities of six types of simple machines (wedge, wheel and axle, lever, inclined plane, screw, pulley) as they discuss modern structures in the spirit of the engineers and builders of the great pyramids.

Security System Design

Students apply everything they have learned about light properties and laser technologies to designing, constructing, defining design limitations and presenting laser-based security systems that protect the school's mummified troll. In the associated activity, students "test their mettle" by constru...

Middle School Lesson
Adventure Engineering Challenge: Asteroid Impact

Through this earth science curricular unit composed of eight activities, student teams are presented with the scenario that an asteroid will impact the Earth. In response, their challenge is to design the location and size of underground caverns to shelter the people from an uninhabitable Earth for ...

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?
  • Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Interpret and evaluate the accuracy of the information obtained and determine if it is useful. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Make a product or system and document the solution. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Modeling, testing, evaluating, and modifying are used to transform ideas into practical solutions. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Use data collected to analyze and interpret trends in order to identify the positive and negative effects of a technology. (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
  • paper and scissors, to make final cavern cutouts; alternatively, use the ones students created during activity 4 of the unit
  • (optional) computers with Microsoft® PowerPoint® application, for slide presentation creation; alternatively, paper, markers and posterboard
  • (optional) large-size Alabraska Poster Map to post or project at the front of the classroom
  • sticky notes or stars, to identify cavern locations on the big map


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


Before the Activity

  • Gather materials and make copies of the Drum Roll Please! Worksheet and Design Presentation and Report Guidelines.
  • Make available computers, software or other materials to support the presentation and report preparation. If possible, have students prepare their presentations using Microsoft PowerPoint software.
  • During the presentations, have the Alabraska Poster Map in the front of the classroom, or make available some other way for teams to reference the big map.

With the Students

  1. Day 1: Start by discussing today's objectives: Today you will analyze your data and make a final decision, figure out how to defend that decision, and prepare a class presentation to explain it.
  2. Pass out the handouts. Review the report and presentation guidelines with students.
  3. Give students time to work in their groups, writing a final report and preparing a presentation, guided by the worksheet and guidelines handouts. Facilitate as necessary.
  4. Make sure all teams have made cavern cutouts 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).
  5. Require reports and presentations to be finished by the end of the class period, or assigned as homework, to be completed by Day 2 of this activity.
  6. Day 2: Have student engineering teams give their presentations to the class. Call each group individually to place its cutout on the big map and give its presentation.
  7. After each group presents, leave several minutes for Q&A.



Worksheet: Review students' written reports on the Drum Roll Please! Worksheet to gauge their ability to synthesize and summarize the data and information. Refer to the Asteroid Impact Student Workbook Example Answers provided in the unit document for example worksheet answers.

Presentations: Review 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: November 28, 2018