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Internalizing the Symbolic World: Using Low-cost Shake Tables to Convey Earthquake Engineering Concepts to Secondary School Students (K-12 Division: Curriculum Exchange)

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Curriculum Exchange

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1015.1 - 26.1015.3



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Paper Authors


Eric Kjolsing P.E. University of California, San Diego

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Eric completed his B.S. degree in 2007 and his M.S. degree in 2008 in Structural Engineering from UC San Diego. In 2011, Eric earned his M.B.A. from San Diego State University with a coursework emphasis in finance and a thesis outlining a competitive framework for firms in the transportation industry pursuing Design-Build projects. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at UC San Diego in the field of Structural Engineering.

Eric is a licensed P.E. in the state of California and has worked as a bridge engineer for both T.Y. Lin International and Moffatt & Nichol. Eric has been involved in the design or independent check of a number of projects, most notably: Veterans Memorial Bridge (Portland, ME), Port Mann Bridge (Vancouver, British Columbia), and Milliken Avenue Separation (Ontario, CA).

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Yael Van Den Einde University of California, San Diego

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Van Den Einde is a Teaching Professor at UCSD. She teaches core undergraduate courses in Structural Engineering, is the chair of the ABET committee responsible for the continuous curricular improvement process, incorporates education innovations into courses (Peer Instruction, Project-based learning), is responsible for TA training (preparing next generation faculty), serves as faculty advisor to student organizations, hears cases of academic misconduct as a member of the Academic Integrity Review Board, and is committed to fostering a supportive environment for diverse students at UCSD by serving on the faculty advisory board for the IDEA Student Center. Her research is focused on engagement strategies for large classrooms and the development of K-16 curriculum in earthquake engineering.

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Internalizing the Symbolic World: Using Low-Cost Shake Tables to Convey Earthquake Engineering Concepts to K-12 Students (Curriculum Exchange)In order to improve college level academic performance, engineering students must be exposedto and excited about their fields from an early age. This is exemplified through the variety ofSTEM initiatives in place across the United States that target primary and secondary schoolstudents. However, demonstrating challenging concepts that require complex mathematics,which most students have yet to be exposed to, is difficult. This task is exacerbated if studentsfeel lost in the concepts and become disengaged.To address these issues, a series of engineering learning modules capitalizing on the use of acommercially available instructional shake table were developed. The modules were designed togive K-12 students a firm base in earthquake engineering concepts by having them engage in avariety of hands on and dynamic projects. Modules cover topics such as shear walls, soilliquefaction, and frame design; each with varying resource requirements. The includedsecondary school capstone project is a seismic design module in which students (a) developcomputer models to aid in structural design, (b) determine seismic loading on a structure, (c)compare force demands to material capacities to ensure adequate design, (d) construct and test aphysical model per imposed specifications and constraints, and (e) optimize a performanceindex. The seismic design modules duration is twenty in-class hours at a unit cost of $2 perstudent.In each module concepts are broken down to their fundamental levels and presented to studentsthrough a combination of lectures, videos, peer instruction, in-class demonstrations, andconstruction based projects to increase student comprehension. The modules goals are to buildthe students knowledge base through interactive activities, generate excitement aboutengineering, and develop a physical intuition about engineering concepts. The modules havebeen deployed in three secondary schools in Southern California with positive results. This paperbriefly describes a small selection of these modules along with the targeted learning objectives.

Kjolsing, E., & Van Den Einde, Y. (2015, June), Internalizing the Symbolic World: Using Low-cost Shake Tables to Convey Earthquake Engineering Concepts to Secondary School Students (K-12 Division: Curriculum Exchange) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24352

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