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Translating An Engineering Research Project Based On Improving Buildings’ Resistance To Earthquakes Into The High School Classroom Experience

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Engineering Collaboration: Faculty and Student Involvement in K-12 Programs

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1280.1 - 14.1280.18



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Paper Authors


Nathalie Mukolobwiez Saint Ursula Academy

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Nathalie Mukolobwiez is an 11th and 12th grade Physics Teacher at Saint Ursula Academy. She earned a PhD in Physics from the University of Paris XI and her teaching license through the Alternative Education License program from the University of Cincinnati. Her experiences include 4 years as a Post doctoral fellow (University of California, Santa Barbara and University of Cincinnati) and 7 years as a High school teacher.

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Michelle Beach Midpark High School

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Michelle Beach is an 11th and 12th grade Physics/Chemistry Teacher in Cleveland Ohio. She earned her bachelors in Civil Environmental Engineering (2004) and her Masters in Secondary Education (2006) from the University of Cincinnati. Her experiences include 3 years as a National Science Foundation STEP Fellow were she taught in several Cincinnati Public Schools and 3 years as a high school science teacher in Cleveland.

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Jaswinder Dhillon Withrow High School

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Jaswinder Dhillon teaches Mathematics at Withrow University High School in Cincinnati, OH. He has taught classes including Pre-Calculus, Algebra 2 and Algebra 1 to 9th-12th graders. This is his third year teaching at Withrow as well as his third year teaching overall.
Jaswinder received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics with a minor in Mathematics from University of California at Davis, along with a Master’s in Sociology and Teaching Credentials from California State University of Hayward. He initially worked for six years as a Project Manager for multiple large online marketing firms in New York prior to becoming a teacher.

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Raviteja Chalasani University of Cincinnati


Anant Kukreti University of Cincinnati

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ANANT R. KUKRETI, Ph.D., is an Associate Dean for Engineering Education Research and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati (UC). He joined UC on 8/15/00 and before that worked 22 years at University of Oklahoma. He teaches structural engineering, with research in experimental and finite element analysis of structures. He has won five major university teaching awards, two Professorships, two national ASEE teaching awards, and is internationally recognized in his primary research field.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Translating an engineering research project based on improving buildings’ resistance to earthquake into the high school classroom experience Abstract Earthquakes can cause damage and/or collapse of building structures. This phenomenon offers a real-life application of waves and resonance that teachers and students can discover while experimentally investigating retrofitting solutions for buildings subjected to earthquakes. In a NSF sponsored six-week summer Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program, university faculty and high school teachers partnered to develop lessons based on engineering concepts. During this program, a team of three teachers researched under the guidance of a dedicated faculty and doctoral student ways to improve buildings’ resistance to earthquakes. The goals were two fold. First, high school teachers learned the technology and analysis tools necessary to implement an engineering research project. Second, they extracted from their research experience, key concepts and ideas that could be translated into the high school classroom. In this paper, we first present a summary of the high school teachers’ research results. Then we describe an outline of the lessons they developed and implemented and the evaluations conducted. Introduction The Research Experience for Teachers (RET) is a six week-program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). A group of twelve science and mathematics teachers were chosen to spend the summer working on current civil engineering research topics. During their summer, they learned about engineering, and developed skills necessary to implement a research project. They also collaborated with faculty and graduate students, acquiring a better understanding about which skills their students need to have. The group was divided into smaller groups of three teachers who worked on four different topics. This paper focuses on one group. The three teachers involved in the group investigated “buildings that resist earthquakes better.” The goals of the collaboration were two fold. First, high school teachers immersed themselves in a research atmosphere, learning the technology, analysis tools and skills necessary to implement an engineering research project. Second, they extracted from their research experience key concepts and ideas that could be translated into the high school classroom. Third, they developed and implemented a lesson and evaluated its impact on student leaning. The paper describes their experience, the research project’s main results, and their classroom implementation with the main results obtained from the students.

2. Research Experience for Teacher The key concept of the program is to introduce teachers to a research project topic that they can use later in their classroom. Very often, students feel disconnected from the material presented to them. In order to engage students, using real life examples becomes an essential characteristic of lesson preparation. The teachers involved in the NSF sponsored program had the opportunity to discover several applications of the science and mathematics concepts that they teach to their students. Earthquakes and their effects on buildings offer an excellent platform to introduce the concepts of simple harmonic motion, natural frequency, stiffness, and resonance. Students encounter a lot of difficulty in understanding simple harmonic motion and the

Mukolobwiez, N., & Beach, M., & Dhillon, J., & Chalasani, R., & Kukreti, A. (2009, June), Translating An Engineering Research Project Based On Improving Buildings’ Resistance To Earthquakes Into The High School Classroom Experience Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4960

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015