Robust Structures

Key Objectives

In this project, you will:
• Explore the origin and nature of earthquakes.
• Create and program a device that will allow you to test building designs.
• Document evidence and present your findings about which design(s) is/are the most earthquake-resistant.


1. Explore phase

Max and Mia have noticed that not all of the buildings around the world look the same.

They wish to investigate how buildings could be designed to be stronger and safer.


Explore Max and Mia's questions:

  1. What causes earthquakes, and what hazards do they create?
  2. How do scientists rate the strength of an earthquake?
  3. What factors can influence the damage resistance of buildings during an earthquake?
    Share your ideas using the Documentation tool.

2. Create phase

Use the bricks:
Build an earthquake simulator that can shake a building.


Turn on the Smarthub and connect it to your device. Watch the video if you need help.

See the Help panel for more guidance.

Program your earthquake simulator to simulate an earthquake with various magnitudes.


Investigate with Max and Mia:

  1. Find the minimum magnitude required to make building B fall. Test building A with the same magnitude.
    Document and compare your results for both tests.
  2. Run the same program to shake buildings B and C.
    Document and compare your results for both tests.

Investigate more:

  1. Predict what would happen if you repeated your investigation with a high-magnitude earthquake.
    Document your predictions, and document and compare your results for both tests.
  2. Build the tallest structure possible that is capable of withstanding a magnitude 8 earthquake.

3. Share phase

Finalise your document:

  1. Review your predictions, and explain what happened in this investigation.
  2. Organise your information to share with others.
  3. Insert important text, pictures, screenshots or videos into your project.

Share your findings:
Based on your findings during these investigations, present evidence in your own words about what factors make a building better suited to withstand earthquakes.