Lesson 2

A Stick in the Mud: Evaluating a Landscape

The Core of the Issue / Grade 5 / Bremerton, WA

The EIE Curriculum

EiE - A Stick in the Mud: Evaluating a Landscape, L2

Students think like geotechnical engineers as they take core samples of a model building site and decide how deeply the pier foundations for a model skyscraper should be anchored into the soil.

Reflection Questions

What does Desiree do to make sure all students have some knowledge of earthquakes before beginning the lesson?

Desiree chooses a short animation that highlights some features of earthquakes that are relevant to this lesson.

  • The cut-away image she chooses shows layers of the Earth. (0:40)
  • The animation shows buildings shaking, cracking, and falling over. (0:45)
  • The animation provides a context for students so that they can better understand the earthquake model used in the unit. (1:03)

In this video, there is some variation in how Desiree and her students are moving the earthquake container. What are the differences and what effect does it have on the class results?

Although different groups conduct the tests slightly differently, the main learning goal of the lesson is not compromised. 

  • When doing her initial demonstration, Desiree instructs the students to move the container from back to front, not side to side. (1:18)
  • When one group is testing, we see them moving the container from side to side. (9:20)
  • Although difference in procedure may have accounted for some of the variability of  results for the clay layer, students still took away the main point of the activity—that the layers of the soil and the depth of the foundation play a role in a building’s stability. (9:59 and 10:29)