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Engineering Earthquake Resistant Structures June 8, 2017

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Mrs. Weinberg’s 4th graders got a sneak-peak at next year’s earthquake curriculum as pilots for a future “Quake Shake Engineering” challenge put together by Mr. Musselman. Students learned about the kinds of seismic waves earthquakes form before learning about the substructures commonly put into place by construction companies to reduce the impact of an earthquake on a building or piece of city infrastructure.

Students planned, constructed, tested, and compared results with fellow classmates to determine which structures held up to the seismic tests (performed by student power and the help of a metronome). At the conclusion of the challenge 3 of the 5 structures managed to hold their own to the model earthquake. The “winner” of the bid for construction eeked by their second closest competitor by saving such slightly more on their design’s cost and weight (secondary objectives to the most important goal!)

Mr. Musselman would like to thank Mrs. Weinberg’s class for being such great “guinea pigs” and structural engineers! Hard hats off to you!

Exploring Earthquake Science with MSMS 6th Graders January 26, 2016

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The Science Center stretch into Marshall Simonds Middle School last week to share the science behind earthquakes with the MSMS 6th graders.

Mr. Carroll was kind enough to take pictures and video during the presentation and share them on the MSMS blog. After the show, Mr. Musselman set up the Burlington Science Center seismograph in the learning commons for all MSMS students to observe and investigate. Mrs. Richardson’s class tried it out today with earth-shaking results! Thanks to Library Media Specialist, John Carroll at the MSMS Learning Commons for sharing and posting these great pictures and videos!


Burlington Science Center Exhibit: Patterns in Nature! January 12, 2015

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In science classes, teachers often focus on specific content areas to drive their science curriculum. Topics such as Light & Sound, Rocks & Minerals, or Animals and their Habitats are particularly popular with students. But there are also science concepts that cut across all science disciplines. This year the Science Center decided to showcase one such concept through their bi-annual touring exhibit: Patterns in Nature.

Younger students are first can find patterns in their everyday lives by observing the natural world around them. As they grow older, students can use patterns to sort and classify objects in their world. They can begin to use patterns to make thoughtful predictions about scientific phenomena. Students even come to use patterns as evidence to support scientific explanations about the world they observe around them.

Our patterns exhibit explores several natural phenomena and the patterns they exhibit.  This charges students to think critically about what the patterns can tell us about the world around us and what they suggest may be to come in the future! Several stations illustrate patterns we can see clearly (such as stripes that help tigers hide in the grasslands) while others reveal patterns that may not be visible without careful data collection for a year (seasons and constellations) or thousands of years (earthquake locations) at a time!

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Check out all the different stations we offer in this exhibit by exploring the pictures below, or come see the exhibit for yourself when it visits your child’s school! The exhibit is currently on display for two weeks at the Memorial School. It will then travel to Pine Glen, Fox Hill, and the Francis Wyman where it will also be on display for two weeks at a time.

As always we love to hear your feedback. Please let us know what you think about our exhibit by email or through the comments section below!

Learning about Earthquakes at Marshall Simmonds Middle School April 1, 2014

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Mr. Musselman gave a special presentation on earthquakes featuring the Science Center’s siesmograph.  Check out the information on the Burlington Public Schools Blog Post here.

Earthquake News from the Science Center October 17, 2012

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Last night’s earthquake in Maine shook many homes (and schools!) across Massachusetts. Burlington was no exception. Fortunately for us, Burlington’s own seismograph was up and running and recorded the seismic vibrations as they passed through BHS. (Click on the image to see a full size view.)

What you see in the image above are the compressional P-waves passing through at roughly 7:18.30 (our clock on the seismogram runs a little fast), then a short lull before the stronger S-waves began to pass through at 7:18.50. The S-waves move more slowly from the epicenter but also tend to be more dangerous because they are transversal waves, waves that move up and down much like ocean waves or ripples.

In addition we put together an Earthquake PSA for our elementary level students to help them understand what an earthquake is, how earthquake waves move through the earth’s crust, and how seismologists measure seismic waves using a seismograph.