Pine Crest Middle School Students Use Biomechanics To Develop Earthquake Resistant Homes

Posted by Pine Crest School on February 15, 2019 at 1:53 PM

Project based learning (PBL) initiatives are some of the ways faculty are approaching hands-on learning with students. A PBL assignment engages students in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. Students then demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing a public product or presentation for a real audience.

Middle School Science Instructor Roslynn Jackson teamed up with Performance Training Coach Reggie Givens, Physical Education Department Chair Tim Hibbs, and Computer Science Teacher and Educational Technology Specialist  Kelly Schuster-Paredes for a cross-curricular look at biomechanics and earthquakes.


vert interface

Students in the seventh grade had to answer how biomechanics can help design earthquake-resistant homes in a developing country. Earlier in the year, Mrs. Jackson was leading students in a lab when she was approached by Coach Givens with the offer to use Vert in one of her classes, a wearable technology used by athletes to measure the height of their jumps, their total jumps and electronically transmits the data to a smartphone or iPad. Additionally, it measures every movement in the G-force, the force of gravity, of the jumps allowing students to see the exertion that their muscles and the stress being put on their bodies.

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Students worked over five weeks on the project, generating questions and then researching their answers. Students researched areas that are frequently hit by earthquakes, looking at the topography of the land, tectonic plates, and how the plates affect the areas they are studying.

In exploring the way their bodies absorb force, students used what they learned in their Vert lab and proposed solutions for earthquake resistant homes. This is a very important first step in supporting the maker mindset. Students came up with solutions to existing products to improve them.

Students presented their designs to their teachers as well as Upper School faculty, including Innovation Specialists, and the Physical Education faculty.  

middle school students present their pbl

Two students were also chosen to present their work and speak about the PBL to attendees of the 2018 Innovation Institute.


This article was originally published in The Magazine, Fall 2018.

Topics: 2018, Athletics, Faculty, Middle School, Design Thinking, Innovation Institute