On February 2nd, 48 fourth grade students from the Phineas Bates Elementary School came to Northeastern University for a field trip on catapults and a visit to the earthquake lab. In the morning, the students were given a presentation on an introduction to engineering and then proceeded to build catapults made of popsicle sticks, tape, spoons, and a rubber band. In the afternoon, these catapults were test fired by launching Skittles, with the goal of achieving the farthest distance.
The students also had the chance to learn about civil engineering by visiting the earthquake shake table. After an introduction into building design and earthquake effects, the students broke into small groups and worked with K’NEX pieces to create a structure that would withstand the highest earthquake simulation possible. After the structures were tested to failure, students took turns standing on the shake table to get a feel for what it is like to be in the middle of a mild earthquake.