Tsunami Shelter Challenge

Our newest education project will introduce teachers and students at low-income, rural middle schools in Oregon to software tools and simulation - through a statewide contest where teams design and test buildings that could survive tsunamis.

The teachers will learn CAD (computer aided design), computational modeling and visualization techniques along with web page design, and video teleconferencing skills. Using their new skills, the teachers will guide students in the design and testing of a tsunami shelter using computational modeling and visualization. The challenge is to design a shelter that will withstand the forces that occurred in the Indian Ocean Tsunami and the storm surge produced by Hurricane Katrina. Student teams will be responsible for investigating and designing the shelter, running the simulations, documenting their results, modifying their structure, and repeating the simulation until the shelter is able to withstand both disasters. They will then use web technology to communicate their results to tsunami researchers and other schools.

The capstone will be the construction of physical models of the students' shelters for testing at the NEES Tsunami Research Facility in partnership with tsunami researchers. Students will have the opportunity to see firsthand how their computational models redicted what actually happens, using an world-class experimental lab.