The Eureka! girls kicked off the holiday celebrations by putting on their engineering hats. We took a typical holiday tradition, gingerbread houses, and added a STEM-tastic twist! Who could engineer a gingerbread house that was structurally sound enough to withstand any earthquake?
The rules were simple: use the materials provided to build a gingerbread house that was two-stories, at least 7.5 inches tall, and had an A-frame roof. The final rule was that the house could only be made of edible materials, which proved to have a more expansive meaning than intended. Leftover food from breakfast, supplies from the hot chocolate station, anything remotely edible in the room was fair game to serve as construction supplies. Soon marshmallows, M&Ms, and countless other candies were melted in the microwave to see which combination created the best glue. Each team came up with their own unique design, with some focusing on creating a strong foundation through substantial graham cracker use and others using pretzels to construct a load bearing wall. Though a few collapsed before the earthquake even hit, by the end four houses stood ready to withstand our simulated natural disaster.
Everyone gathered around the watch the destruction, one by one, each house was put to the test; first with a low magnitude earthquake (a pan filled with sand) and then a high magnitude earthquake (a pan filled with marbles). The houses were shaken front and back and side to side to simulate the various effects of an earthquake. Though the houses fared well with the sand, the marbles caused all but one to crumble! Ashley and Zoe emerged victorious, as their unique design of four small A-framed roofs proved to be a distinct advantage over their opponents.