For each shake table, you will need:
- Two pieces of heavy cardboard or thin wood, approximately 12 x 12 inches (30 x 30 cm). Covers of worn out three-ring binders work well for this
- Four rubber balls or bouncy balls, about one inch (2.5 cm) in diameter
- Two large rubber bands
To construct the shake table, place one board on top of the other, lining up the sides. Stretch the rubber bands around the boards on two opposite sides to hold the boards together. Slide the rubber bands in so that they are about 1 inch from the outer edge of the board. Pull the boards apart and insert a ball between the two boards on each of the four corners. The balls should be approximately 1 inch in from the corner. Gently pulling and releasing, or jiggling the top board of the shake table will cause a movement that simulates the movement of the ground during the earthquake.
Students will build structures and then place them on the shake table, move it to simulate an earthquake, and test which structures are most stable. For building the structures, students can use Legos, wooden blocks, sugar cubes, popsicle sticks, toothpicks, marshmallows, plastic straws, pipe cleaners, paper clips, playing cards, or any other common materials. Students can experiment with the height of the structures and how different construction methods affect stability.