Prototyping & Iterations
We went through several initial ideas and prototypes before deciding to pursue an earthquake simulator. These various prototypes allowed us to evaluate our hypothesis and determine not only the subject area that we should target, but also the medium which would best teach the students and keep them adequately engaged. Our testing ranged from traditional physical systems (i.e. a card game) to more unique electronic devices (i.e. a Makey-Makey), ultimately culminating in a design that employed a mix of both. Our final prototype consisted a tactile transducer buried in a tray of sand and Jenga blocks. The sand and transducer represented ground foundation and shifting plates, while the Jenga blocks were the buildings subjected to vibration. By mixing both electronics – in the form of the audio feedback provided by the transducer – and physical mediums – in this case, the sand and Jenga blocks – students had constant audio, visual, and tactile stimulation. This allowed them to remain adequately engaged as they were actively learning about earthquakes.