Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' on During Outreach Event for Anaheim and Compton Students


Learning with LEGOs, a student competition organized by the UC Irvine Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and two outreach programs, UCI FOCUS and MESA (Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement)


Saturday, May 31, 2003, 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.


Structural Engineering Test Hall, Engineering Laboratory Facility, UC Irvine campus

BACKGROUND: The "shake-down" involves more than 500 middle and high school students, vying to build LEGO structures able to withstand the simulated ground motion of a major earthquake. The students, Anaheim and Compton area students participating in the MESA program, have spent the past month learning about structural engineering and architecture in order to create resilient and aesthetically pleasing structures. The buildings, ranging from a few inches to several feet high, will be tested on the engineering shake table, a large platform rigged to simulate the vertical, horizontal and rolling effects of varying-strength earthquakes. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at 3 p.m.

Learning with LEGOs, founded in 2000, is designed to increase students' knowledge of engineering and earthquakes. The outreach effort is organized by the UCI Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UCI MESA and UCI FOCUS, a new program funded by the National Science Foundation that provides disadvantaged students with increased exposure to university life, promotes education in math and science, and sponsors teacher training.