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Discovery Kit Guides

Descriptions and resources for available kits to check out through PPLD

About This Kit

Kids can test test their engineering skills with this fun, interactive activity. First, they build a structure from 30 plastic bricks of varying sizes atop a platform with a grid. Next, they turn an orange dial to test their structure's integrity against five different levels of platform-shaking quakes. Intensity increased from 1 to 5, and as in a real earthquake, the longer that shake, the more unstable the structure can become. Providing a glimpse at how real-life earthquake engineers operate, this activity encourages kids to come up with design ideas, test them, and then utilize results to modify their plan.

An activity booklet provides a brief introduction to earthquakes, tips about how to think like an engineer, and step-by-step instructions for building five different structures and info about why some are more stable than others.

Recommended for ages 4 - 12




How to Check Out This Kit

Discovery Kits can be reserved in the catalog for pickup at any PPLD location. They check out for seven days but can be renewed as long as there are no holds.

Due to the size of the kits, all Discovery Kits must be returned to library staff at the main desk during regular business hours. Please do not return this item to a book drop.

Learning Outcomes

Playing and experimenting with the Survive the Quake Engineering Kit, will encourage users to do the following:

  • Learn about earthquakes and their impact
  • Discover how engineers design structures that can withstand the motion of an earthquake
  • Make predictions and test them
  • Understand the process of designing, testing, and utilizing results to re-evaluate and modify designs
  • Discover which structures are the most stable



Getting Started

The Survive the Quake Engineering Kit is easy to use. Simply unpack the pieces and invite kids to begin building a structure, or structures, on the platform. Once the building process is complete, kids turn the orange dial to begin the "earthquake"  and test their structure. The shaking becomes more intense as the numbers increase from 1 to 5. Turn the dial slowly to discover how the length of  the quake effects the stability of the structure.

Kids can start by free-building, or check out the activity booklet to learn about five different structures and why some are more stable than others.