By Stephen Satkowski
USACE-Far East District Public Affairs
SEOUL, South Korea -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District and Seoul American Middle School teamed up once again and held the second annual earthquake tower challenge competition Jan. 9. Students were tasked to build structures out of straw, paper clips and straight pins and district engineers tested their ability to withstand an earthquake on a specially designed shaker table.
“It gave us a way to see how buildings work”, said Nina Furner, eight grade student at Seoul American Middle School. “Instead of just hearing a lecture in class this gave us a fun way to learn.”
The tower challenge, along with the toothpick bridge competition, is part of two flagship activities by the district promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, better known as STEM, to Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) Korea.
“We have the practical expertise and the teachers instruct on the engineering disciplines,” said Doug Bliss, geotechnical and environmental engineering branch chief. “We join together to help the students learn more in this field of study.”
Last year’s earthquake tower challenge stimulated a lot of discussion and interest in the field of engineering prompting this year’s towers to be more structurally sound.
“Last year nobody made it past the first sandbag (sandbags are placed on the structures to test their design),” said Jack Donoghe, eighth grade student at Seoul American Middle School. “This year quite a few did, so we are definitely learning and building more sound structures.”
The Far East District promotes STEM activities throughout all DoDDS schools in the Republic of Korea. The next activity at Seoul American Middle School will be the toothpick bridge completion in April.
Release no. 15-006