This project was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant Number 1640228. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Dazhi Yang at dazhiyang@boisestate.edu or use our Contact Form.

This project-based scientific inquiry project: **How can we make sand stand tall?** Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Please refer to the weekly activities (such as **Week 1 Session 1** in the left sidebar and **Resources** from the sections below) for detailed information on how to use this project either in a classroom or an informal setting such as in community centers' after-school programs. The twice weekly sessions were originally designed to be 90 minutes in length, including a 10 minute break in the middle of the session. See photos of prior implementations on the projects' photo pages.

What is density? Mass? Volume? How are they related?

Why should we make sand dense? How can we make sand denser?

What is sand compaction and sand densification?

Watch video on “Evaluate: Mass, Volume, and Density

Learner Hands-on Activity

Whole group discussion

Problem Solving Process

Evaluate: Mass, Volume, and Density Video

Relative Density of Soil Worksheet

Explain the terms “sand compaction” and “sand densification” in their own terms.

Explain that density of sand is defined as mass of the sand per volume of the sand.

Explain that patting the sand in a container will make the sand denser.

Calculate the sand density.

How does sand support buildings?

Watch video on friction

Learner Hands-on Activity

Whole group discussion

Problem Solving Process

Video on friction

Sand in a Jar Worksheet

Sandpaper Boards Worksheet

Learners will explain that the particle interaction (friction and density) makes the sand strong.

How can we make sand stand tall?

The facilitator first asks “What is mass? What is volume?”. After some students answer the questions, the facilitator reviews the concept of “volume” and “mass” with students. The facilitator could use cotton balls, little rocks, wood/rubber balls to demonstrate some matter with similar volume but different mass and ask students why their mass are different. Some students may come up with the concept of density.

The facilitator could review the tools that we use to measure the “mass” and the “volume” of matter. Review related measurement units in metric systems for both mass and volume. For example: common units for mass (kg, g, mg, etc.); and common units for volume, this would depends on what volume we will be discussing: solids (cubic meters) or liquids (liters). [This part of the knowledge will prepare students to work on the worksheet later]

Then the facilitator plays the video to introduce the idea of density, and prompt student thinking with following discussions: What is mass? What is volume? What is the relationship between the two? What is density? How density is measured?

The facilitator will ask students following questions to guide student thinking while watching the video and after watching the video. While watch the video, keep (“this vocabulary in mind” instead of “in mind of these”) vocabulary:

What is mass? What is volume? What is density?

What did you learn from this video?

What is matter? Can you identify matter in this classroom?

The facilitator starts with some prompt questions such as, “What is the mass of this jar” and “What is the volume of the jar?” “Are they the same?” by showing students a jar. The facilitator shows a big pile of sand and asks, “How do we measure the mass and volume of the sand?”and “Is it easy to find the mass and volume of the sand?” “why or why not?” (“The facilitator then” instead of “Then facilitator”) asks students to guess the mass of the big pile of sand. The facilitator will introduce the measurements units that students will be using for this experiments. For example, units for mass as kilogram or gram. Facilitator will demonstrate how to use scale to measure the mass of a jar and sand. Facilitator then asks students to determine the volume of the jar, and then asks “How much sand can we pack it into this jar?” Facilitator prompts learners to determine the volume of the sand in the jar. Students would guess. Then facilitator can break students into small groups to work on the hands-on activity.

Weigh the empty jar and document its mass on the worksheet.

**Phase 1**

1. Fill the jar with sand.

2. Weigh the filled-jar, document the weight of the filled-jar with the sand.

3. Document the volume of the sand by reading the label on the jar.

4. Place a 2 kg load on the sand. Observe the sand level. Document the sand level.

5. Calculate the density (ratio) of the sand in the jar.

**Phase 2**

6. Pat the sand to densify the sand in the jar

7. Weigh the sand in the jar and document it.

8. Read the new level of the sand to find volume.

9. Place a 2 kg load on the sand. Observe the sand level. Document the sand level.

10. Calculate the density (ratio) of the sand in the jar.

**Phase 3**

11. Fill the rest of the jar with sand. Pat it again. And fill more if needed until the sand is patted in the whole jar.

12. Weigh the jar and sand again and document the weight.

13. Read the new level of sand to find volume.

14. Place a 2 kg load on the sand. Observe the sand level. Document the sand level.

15. Calculate the density (ratio) of the sand in the jar.

A pile of dry sand

A jar (1L)

Scale

Relative Density of Soil Worksheet

Facilitator asks students share their observations and compare across groups. Students can make a whole-group poster displaying their different ideas. The facilitator can ask more questions as students write their ideas to promote further thinking.

“Was it easy to find the sand mass and volume?”

“Why did you pat the sand?” Facilitator introduces the term “sand compaction” and “sand densification.”

“Between the jars with high and low density which one do they think would be stronger?”

“What is a benefit of condensing the space between the sand?”

“Can you think of a time you have condensed sand? Why did you do this?” The facilitator can probe students to consider sand castles.

The facilitator says, “This is a working document that can be added to as we learn more!”

What did I learn today?

What worked well?

What didn’t work well?

What can I/we do differently next time?

Do you have anything else to share?

How can we make sand stand tall?

Facilitator asks “what is friction?” Have several students explain it. Then facilitator says “We are going to learn about friction today” and then hands out the worksheets. Facilitator plays and asks student to write notes on the worksheet.

Facilitator leads a discussion on friction. Facilitator has students come up with some examples of friction in their daily life first. Facilitator then asks students how sand can support buildings. Students would provide some answers. Facilitator gives students two pieces of sandpaper and asks students to rub them together to feel the friction. Students record their observations on the worksheet.

The facilitator says we will explore friction more in this activity. We will test 4 different sandpaper boards and see on which sandpaper board, a block can slide down the fastest. The facilitator asks the following questions to get students thinking:

What affects the speed of the block sliding down the sandpaper boards?

What could be changed on the boards to make block slide faster?

Students observe and draw the sandpaper boards first (in terms of the size and shape of the sand) on the worksheet.

Lean all the sandpaper boards on the wall (the starting height should be the same for each sand board)

Before testing each board, students predict which board will produce the fastest block.

Students should be organized into “teams” to cheer for their board.

Select two students to test-run the blocks by sliding them down each of the four sandpaper boards.

Students should repeat these tests five times (for validity) and document the results within their journals. An adult needs to help with timing the block.

Once all tests have been completed, have student discuss their findings and hypotheses in small groups.

4 sandpaper boards - glue 4 types of sandpapers on boards.

Some solid blocks (wood or plastic)

Timer (use cell phones as timers)

Adults to supervise/assist this activity

Facilitator can ask these questions to help guide the discussion:

On which sandpaper board will the block slide the fastest?

Why?

What would happen if we arrange the sandpaper boards from fast to slow?

What affects the speed of the block sliding down the sandpaper boards? (size of the boards, and height, if kids do not talk about the surface of the boards, direct kids to observe the surface of the boards if surfaces do not come up)

What could be changed on the boards to make block slides faster? How does this apply to sand?

Facilitator asks “What makes sand strong?” Facilitator takes some ideas from students. Then facilitator helps students relate the sand strength with the friction activities. And facilitator says that “We will explore some factors that make sand strong in this activity.

**Setup Procedures**

Place about a quart of dry sand on the table in a pile.

Place the other quart of dry sand in the container.

**Directions**

Put the weight on the sand pile and observe the behavior.

Put the weight on the sand in the jar, and observe the behavior.

Push a rod into the pile of sand on the table

Try to push the rod into the sand in the container.

Have students document their observation. Have students explain their experience.

One quart jar (use the same jar used before)

Two quarts of dry sand

Weight

A form tray

Plastic or wooden rod

Facilitator can ask these questions to guide the discussion. This activity brings density and friction together. Facilitator can ask:

What did you observe when you put the weight on the sand pile?

What happened when you put the weight on the sand in the jar?

How did you feel when you push a rod into the pile of sand on the table?

How did you feel when you try to push the rod into the sand in the container?

What makes sand strong?

Facilitator can explain that because of the nature of the soil, its strength not only depends not only on particle roughness (friction) but also how close they are to each other (density).

What did I learn today?

What worked well?

What didn’t work well?

What can I/we do differently next time?

Do you have anything else to share?

One quart jar (use the same jar used before)

Two quarts of dry sand

Weight

A form tray

Plastic or wooden rod