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Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
30-45 minutes
Key Concepts
Earthquake, liquefaction


Have you ever thought about what type of ground buildings are constructed on? Rock, gravel, sand, soil and many others—there are lots of different types of "ground." And this issue becomes especially important in areas that are likely to get earthquakes. In this activity you will build a sweet building on a homemade shake table and find out how an earthquake impacts buildings constructed on landfill. How will your structure perform in a pretend earthquake?


Sabine De Brabandere, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,200 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.


  • Butcher paper or newspaper
  • Wax paper
  • Damp cloth
  • Starburst® candy or sugar cubes (40 or more)
  • No-stir peanut butter or a substitute, such as soy butter or sunflower seed butter
  • Spoon or butter knife
  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Shallow box
  • Marbles or any small balls identical in size (1 to 2 dozen)
  • Shallow tray that is a few inches smaller than your shallow box. (Aluminum cake-trays work well.)
  • Fork
  • Optional: Yellow food coloring


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Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
30-45 minutes
Key Concepts
Earthquake, liquefaction
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