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Aftershock! Earthquake Lab

Lower Age: 8+
Year Added: 2019

Aftershock! Earthquake Lab, by Smart-Lab, is a game in which the player builds a structure and then uses a tool called a “shake table” to simulate seismic waves and test a structure’s stability in earthquake conditions. Targeted towards children aged eight and above, it gives them an opportunity to use their creativity to design cool buildings while also being technically minded and making sure they’re stable. This toy comes with a motorized shake table, square plastic rods that fit together to make the building frame, cardboard floors and walls, and several wave shapes and linear gear racks.  The wave shapes fit onto the linear gears, which are then inserted into the shake table to move the base. The manual contains instructions for creating multiple different types of designs, which children are encouraged to improve upon.


This toy helps children develop both engineering design and thinking skills by giving them the design problem of building a structure that can withstand earthquakes and encouraging them to develop their designs with multiple iterations. Children can even test buildings they’ve seen in real life, which gives them a better understanding of their environment and what makes buildings stronger. Determining how much pressure a particular structure can withstand helps kids develop math and physics skills. Hence, it’s clear that it is a fun, educational engineering toy which does a great job of introducing children to the world of science at a young age.


Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about:

Learn about the problem, Idea Generation, Plan a Solution, Create a Prototype or Process, Test the Solution, Analyze a Solution, Make Improvements to the Solution


Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: 

 A problem to be solved by developing a new or improved object, tool, or process, Criteria


Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift:

Creative Thinking, Design, Problem Solving, Perseverance, Iterative Design


Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews

    • Rating:  4.5 out of 5.0

    • Feedback: 

      • "You get to figure out how to make the pieces stand. It is a challenge but fun"

  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews

    • Rating: 4.25 out of 5.0

    • Feedback:

      • "This toy is enjoyable, it's fun to play around with the shake table."

      • The player has to try various designs and analyze the shortcomings of them and further improve on it to come up with a strong structural design that withstands earthquake shocks.”