STEMM Earthquake Day for 7th Graders

More than 50 7th grade students from St. Christopher visited CJ Friday, April 8 to participate in a special STEMM Earthquake Day led by CJ's Project Lead the Way faculty members.

The day began in the Student Conditioning Center, where students spent time getting to know one another through ice breaker activities before heading to the library for lessons about tsunamis and fault lines.  The group was then split up into small teams of three to four people and given materials to build a two-tiered, earthquake-proof structure.

St. Christopher teacher Beth Hale said her students had a great time getting hands-on with the STEMM-related project. “We’ve studied earthquakes before and with what happened in Japan, the subject is relevant so I thought it would be fun. Plus I thought it would be fun to show them what CJ is all about!”

Hale, a 1986 alumna whose husband coaches the Eagles volleyball team, said her school does not have a STEMM program, but she wishes it did. "[These programs] let kids see how the things they’re learning now will actually apply in the future.”

The grade schoolers discovered principles of engineering by having to get creative with the building materials provided, which included drinking straws, paper clips, string, and a cardboard base. Upon completion, the structures were tested on an earthquake simulator using bags of sand to imitate stress.

“We doubled up the straws so they would be stronger, we used paper clips to hold the straws to the base, and used the string to hold the straws together,” said Ross M., who admitted with a smile that his group tried to use only blue and green straws. Each of the 13 7th grade teams had an Eagle Ambassador alongside to help with the build in the science labs.

Following a pizza lunch in the library, the top three teams were awarded with an Eagles t-shirt, a gift card and a CJ certificate.  The Blue Dragons finished in third, with TNT placing second and Blendini—comprised of Ben N., Collin T., and Cameron F.—taking home the top spot.