Volume 47, N. 2

Special Issue: Geo-education (Invited Editor: K.V. Bicalho), April-June, in progress, 2024

The use of a video and a small-scale model for rain-induced landslides in geotechnical engineering education


Volume 47, N. 2, Special Issue: Geo-education (Invited Editor: K.V. Bicalho), April-June, in progress, 2024 | DOWNLOAD PDF (103 downloads)


Small-scale physical models of geotechnical problems are thought-provoking didactic tools that motivate students by arousing their curiosity and facilitating the understanding of physical phenomena and theoretical concepts. This work presents the development of an educational video about slope stability failures and its contributing factors. It shows several small-scale models built in a glass wall tank measuring 150 x 50 x 10 cm. Layers of fine gravel were placed on a sloping surface of polystyrene to represent a slope with a layer of residual soil on rock. Toy houses and cars were used to represent anthropogenic agents, and water with dye represents the groundwater flow. Each model depicts a different scenario of shallow slope failure. The objective of the video is to show that most slope failures in urban areas result from natural and anthropogenic factors. Several influence factors are shown: porewater level rise, excavation, surcharge application, and solid urban waste deposition. The 6-minute video has had more than 130,000 views on YouTube. Thanks to its simple and concise language, the video is shown in basic education and science museum, as well as in graduate and undergraduate courses. A questionnaire survey was carried out with undergraduate students to assess how helpful the video was for the learning process. This article explains the construction of the model, the video script, and the strategies for its use, as well as its reception. It was found that the video promoted motivational and learning benefits of providing context, establishing relevance, and teaching inductively.

Keywords: Landslides, Physical modeling, Disaster education, Slope stability, Educational video,

Submitted on May 29, 2023.
Final Acceptance on October 07, 2023.
Discussion open until August 31, 2024.
DOI: 10.28927/SR.2024.006623