Materials List: Shake It Up!
Engineering for Seismic Waves

Each group needs:

  • 1 shoebox
  • 1 wooden board (sized to fit in the bottom of the shoebox with room to move in all directions)
  • 10 marbles
  • 20 Popsicle sticks
  • 10 rubber bands
  • string, ~50 cm to 1m in length
  • hot glue gun and 3 glue sticks
  • 1 sandwich bag of mini marshmallows
  • toothpicks, a handful or unlimited, depending on materials limitations imposed by teacher
  • Shake It Up! Activity Worksheet, one per person

To share with the entire class:

  • duct tape
  • masking tape
  • scissors and/or box cutters
  • stopwatch

Students use a stopwatch as a tall toothpick and marshmallow structure jiggles on a tabletop platform.
Final model building designs being tested on a drill-powered shaker table.
Copyright © 2010 Carleigh Samson, ITL Program, University of Colorado Boulder

To build the teacher's shake table (optional):

  • Build a shake table that uses a variable speed drill to move the table; follow instructions at; materials include: plywood, wooden blocks, foam core board, hollow metal tubes, hot glue, metal rods (welding rods), rod with u-shaped bend, wire, strapping tape (or piece of rubber), fasteners, and a variable speed drill with a speed control unit.
  • Alternatively, if you do not want to build the drill-powered shake table, you can construct a simpler one following instructions at Or, have the class select the best shake table from all the groups and use that one for the one-minute earthquake challenge testing.
  • Alternatively, the engineering colleges at some universities make available their shake tables for use by outside student groups for academic purposes.