Week 5

Session 1

Guiding Question

  • How can we detect life on Mars using a robot?


  • What can we do to resist an earthquake?

  • What are the considerations for designing a bridge strong enough to resist earthquakes?


  • An oral presentation, with a poster for visual display, on strategies for resisting earthquakes.

CT Components

Data Structures, Analysis, and Representation

  • Explore videos and articles and study how to resist earthquakes

Data Collection

  • Students will gather information on how to resist earthquakes


  • Students will keep a journal and make a presentation to the class

Entry Event

5-10 minutes

A teacher shows the video about earthquakes; PAUSEs and asks “What do we now know about earthquakes? ”;

Teacher shows students a picture of the Earth’s layers (at 1:09 in the video), showing the inner core, outer core, mantle, and crust; PAUSEs and asks “Where do earthquakes start?”;

Teacher shows students a picture of the Earth’s tectonic plates (at 1:32 in the video), demonstrating the plate boundaries, and how they bump into each other (at 1:42 in the video); PAUSEs and ask “What is the cause of earthquakes?";

Finally, the teacher shows students a picture of what happens when an earthquake occurs (at 2:46 in the video); PAUSE and ask “What could we do to resist an earthquake?”

Ask students to have a hypothesis of how to resist an earthquake and then set out to test their hypothesis through research.

What can we do to resist an earthquake?

Small-group Hands-on Scientific Inquiry (40 minutes)

Students in a small group of two independently research about earthquakes, their causes, and ways in which to resist earthquake forces. This background should assist students in their research on ways to counter the negative effects of earthquakes. Students take notes from the resources below to use in their presentations.


  • Posters for Presentation

What is an Earthquake caused

Earthquake Facts

Student Presentations

20 minutes (Two 10 minute sessions)

Students' presentations need to closely related to the sub questions and learning outcomes.

Suggested approach: Half of the students hang their posters up, and present their research to the remaining students. The poster items will reflect on earthquakes and their causes. After 10 minutes, the two groups of students switch roles with the original presenters who become the audience and the other half of the students who hung up their posters for their presentations. Students can also use Google slides, however the teacher needs to remind students of the limited time available to work on their poster/slides.

End of Session Reflection and Debriefing

5-10 minutes

Teacher briefly explains the computational thinking (CT) skill embedded in the Problem Solving Process Diagram. Using the problem solving process diagram, the teacher will ask students to identify what kind of problem solving skills/process/computational thinking they used in this session and explain how they used it. The following are some sample questions that can guide the debrief.

  • What did I learn today?

  • What problem solving skills/processes or CT components in this diagram did I use today?

  • How did I use the problem solving skills/processes/CT components?