Building and Testing Model Underground Safety Caverns

This Building and Testing Model Underground Safety Caverns activity also includes:

Teams take their cavern designs and build a model from clay or paper mache that can be buried in sand. Testing involves dropping a bowling ball on the buried cavern. Teams dig out their cavern, inspect it for damage, and consider possible design changes that would permit the cavern to survive the impact. 

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Instructional Ideas
  • Consider using the lesson earlier in the unit, right after finding the needed size, so groups can determine the shape
  • Because the cavern is carved from the rock, set a consistent size and shape of clay that represents the rock and have the teams carve out their caverns
Classroom Considerations
  • Allow time for the caverns to dry completely
  • The activity is the last in a series of eight
  • The activity provides teams an opportunity to redesign their caverns
  • The lesson extension allows for a more realistic testing by selecting different materials surrounding the cavern
  • None