Rye Neck Middle School eighth-graders in Anne Palombo’s earth science classes recently took on the roles of scientists and engineers to design structures that can withstand an earthquake.

The project required the students to work together in groups and use limited resources to build their structures out of uncooked spaghetti, mini marshmallows, tape and a golf ball.

“The real challenge was that the structure had to support the golf ball while perched on top of a wooden springboard that simulates the forces generated by an earthquake,” said Principal Eric Lutinski, adding that each building had to be at least 30 centimeters tall. “The students were assessed on their plan, ability to explain the rationale behind their design, and the ultimate success or failure of keeping the golf ball suspended.”

The project was designed to further develop and enhance the students’ creativity and critical thinking skills.