Project 3 How can we make sand stand tall?

STEM+C Projects

A Project-based STEM+Computing Inquiry

About

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.

Description

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.

Implementation

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.


Week 4


Session 1
Questions

How do we make sand strong (reinforced sand)?

space

space


Activities

Watch video on “The Reinforced Earth Company”

Small-group hands-on Activity

Whole group discussion

space


Resources

Problem Solving Process

Layers of Reinforcement Worksheet

Video on “The Reinforced Earth Company

space


Outcomes

Students test how the number of layers and the amount of reinforcement in each layer affect the strength of sand.

Session 2
Questions

What are the common types of reinforcements available for soil (as done in the field)?

What reinforcement materials give the sand most strength?


Activities

Watch video on “The Reinforced Earth Company”

Watch video on “how important reinforcement is”

Hands-on Activity

Whole group discussion


Resources

Problem Solving Process

Layers of Different Reinforcement Worksheet

Video on “The Reinforced Earth Company

Video on “how important this reinforcement is”


Outcomes

Students will test different reinforcement materials and explain how different materials strengthen the sand.

How can we make sand stand tall?


Entry Event 15 minutes

A facilitator asks “What is reinforcement?” After taking some answers from the students, the facilitator says “Remember the activity we did using the pool noodles and the plastic sticks to make the noodles stronger?” “How does it apply to soil?” Take some answers from the students.

Then the facilitator says “Let’s watch (watch from start to 1'20'') to see the potential for a well-reinforced soil structure.” When you watch the video, think about the following questions:

In the real world (video), how does the reinforcement help make the sand stronger?

What types of reinforcements are used in the video?

What is the purpose of adding other materials into sand?

A facilitator asks students the questions again:

In the real world (video), how does the reinforcement help make the sand stronger?

What types of reinforcements are used in the video?

What is the purpose of adding other materials into sand?

After the discussion, the facilitator asks students what else they see. “What is the roller doing?” The facilitator leads them to talk about packing the sand. “Why do we need to pack the sand?” The facilitator could explain that only adding materials is not enough and there is a need to pack to make the sand dense. The facilitator could lead a discuss about the role of friction and density in reinforcement.

Image of wet sand flats
Layers of Reinforcement Small-group Hands-on Scientific Inquiry 40 minutes

The facilitator says, “As you have seen in the video, engineers add materials in the sand to make sand stronger. Today, we will experiment with adding reinforcement to make our sand stronger. We will be examining how the amount of the reinforcement changes the sand strength. First, we will be testing the layers of the reinforcement. Then we will be looking at the amount of reinforcement in each layer.” “It is important that you follow the instruction on the worksheet to document your observation. The facilitator hands out the worksheets.

Activity Steps

For this activity, students will explore results of adding plastic sticks (as a reinforcement) without compactions at different layers of sand to make sand strong.

Directions

Case 1 (No reinforcement, no compaction): Students pour sand to fill the box. No reinforcement is added in this case. Students then put the weight on the sand and observe the sand level. Document their observation on the worksheet. After recording the observation, empty the box for Case 2.

Case 2 (Place 3-5 sticks in the middle, no compaction): Students will identify half of the box (horizontally). Students pour the sand until the box is half filled. Students lay 3 to 5 sticks on the surface of the sand. Then pour the sand to fill the box. Put the weight on the sand and observe the sand level. Students document their observation on the worksheet. After recording the observation, empty the box for Case 3.

Case 3 (Place 3-5 sticks on the ⅓ and ⅔ mark, no compaction): Students will identify and mark the one third and two third line (horizontally) on the box. Students pour the sand to the one-third mark, lay 3 to 5 sticks on the surface of the sand as the first layer of reinforcement. Students pour more sand until the two-third mark and lay 3 to 5 sticks on the surface of the sand as the second layer of the reinforcement. Pour the sand to fill the box. After the box is filled, put the weight on the sand and observe the sand level. Students document their observation on the worksheet. After recording the observation, empty the box for Case 4.

Amount of materials on each layer:

Case 4 (Double the sticks in the middle, no compaction): Students will identify the middle of the box (horizontally). Students pour the sand until the box is half filled. Students lay 6 to 10 sticks (double the amount from previous tests) on the surface of the sand. Then pour the sand to fill the box. Put the weight on the sand and observe the sand level. Students document their observation on the worksheet. After recording the observation, empty the box for Case 5.

Case 5 (Double the sticks on the ⅓ and ⅔ marks, no compaction): Students will identify and mark the one third and two third line (horizontally) on the box. Students pour the sand to the one-third mark, lay 6 to 10 sticks (as did in the Case 4) on the surface of the sand as the first layer of reinforcement. Students pour more sand until the two-third mark and lay 6 to 10 sticks on the surface of the sand as the second layer of the reinforcement. Pour the sand to fill the box. After the box is filled, put the weight on the sand and observe the sand level. Students document their observation on the worksheet.


Resources

6 boxes (storage boxes? clear, ideally 12”x12”x12”), one for each group of 3 students

Sand

Plastic sticks

Weights

Tarp for sand cleanup

Layers of Reinforcement Worksheet


10 minute break


Whole Group Discussion 15 minutes

The facilitator leads a discussion using the following guiding questions:

What did you observe from Case 1, Case 2 and Case 3?

What are changes from Case 1, Case 2 and Case 3?

What did you observe as a result of these changes?

What did you observe from Case 4 and Case 5?

What are changes from Case 2 and Case 4?

What did you observe as a result of these changes?

What are changes from Case 3 and Case 5?

What did you observe as a result of these changes?

What can you conclude from this experiment?

The general conclusion from this hand-on activity should be sand will be stronger with 1) more layers of reinforcement and 2) more amount of reinforcement on each layer.


End of Session Reflection and Debriefing 5-10 minutes

Teacher briefly explains the computational thinking (CT) skill embedded in the problem solving process. Using the Problem Solving Process Diagram, the teacher will ask students to identify what kind of problem solving skills/process/computational thinking they used in this session and explain how they used it. The following are some sample questions that can guide the debrief.

What did I learn today?

What problem solving skills/processes or CT components in this diagram did I use today?

What are some examples of how I used the problem-solving skills/processes/CT components?

How can we make sand stand tall?


Entry Event 15 minutes

The facilitator will review learning in the previous section. If the previous section is not completed, they will continue it. The facilitator leads a discuss about the reinforcement materials.

What reinforcement materials did we use in the last session?

How do you think different types of reinforcement materials will impact the sand strength?

The teacher says, “Let’s watch a short video looking at how important this reinforcement is!” Plays the following video:


Strength of Reinforcement Materials Small-group Hands-on Scientific Inquiry 40 minutes

The facilitator asks students “What did we test with the reinforcement last time?” Then the facilitator says “We will be testing several different materials as reinforcement to see what works best today. The testing procedure is similar to what you did in the last session but the focus is on the materials this time.” The facilitator asks students what reinforcement materials did they use last time. Then the facilitator tells students that they will get “paper, cloth, wire mesh, and plastic sticks” to test today. The facilitator asks the guiding question:

How are these materials different?

How will they impact the sand strength?

Which material will make the strongest sand?

The facilitator asks students to write down their prediction on their worksheet. The facilitator reminds students the importance of documenting their observation on the worksheet. Then the facilitator hands in students the resources for this activity.

Directions

Case 1 (no reinforcement): Students pour sand to fill the box. No reinforcement is added in this step. Students then put the weight on the sand and observe the sand level. Document their observation on the worksheet. After recording the observation, empty the box for Case 2.

Case 2 (one material): Students identify the middle of the box. Students pour the sand until the box is half filled. Students add the first reinforcement material (either paper, cloth, wire mesh or plastic sticks) in the middle. Then pour the sand to fill the box. Put the weight and observe the sand level. Students document their observation on the worksheet. After recording the observation, empty the box for Case 3.

Case 3 (one material): Students repeat the process of Case 2 but use a different reinforcement material. Students document their observation on the worksheet. After recording the observation, empty the box for Case 4.

Case 4 (one material): Students repeat the process of Case 2 but use a different reinforcement material. Students document their observation on the worksheet. After recording the observation, empty the box for Case 5.

Case 5 (one material): Students repeat the process of Case 2 but use a different reinforcement material. Students document their observation on the worksheet.


Resources

Pile of Sand

Reinforcement Materials (students will use these materials as it is, do not need to process the materials)

Paper

Cloth

Wire Mesh

Plastic Sticks

Weight

Markers

Layers of Different Reinforcement Worksheet


10 minute break


Whole Group Discussion 15 minutes

The facilitator leads a discussion and might consider using the following guiding questions:

What did you observe?

What did you learn from Case 1 to Case 5?

What can you conclude about how different materials impact the sand strength?

How can these ideas relate back to friction and density we learned last week? (not sure about this one)

The general conclusion from this hand-on activity should be sand will be stronger with stronger reinforcement materials. In the case of the experiment, mesh wire will give the most strength.


End of Session Reflection and Debriefing 5-10 minutes

Teacher briefly explains the computational thinking (CT) skill embedded in the problem solving process. Using the Problem Solving Process Diagram, the teacher will ask students to identify what kind of problem solving skills/process/computational thinking they used in this session and explain how they used it. The following are some sample questions that can guide the debrief.

What did I learn today?

What problem solving skills/processes or CT components in this diagram did I use today?

What are some examples of how I used the problem-solving skills/processes/CT components?

Session 1

The Reinforced Earth Company

Layers of Reinforcement Worksheet

Problem Solving Process Diagram

6 boxes (storage boxes? clear, ideally 12”x12”x12”), one for each group of 3 students

Sand

Plastic sticks

Weights

Tarp for sand cleanup

Session 2

Problem Solving Process Diagram

Layers of Different Reinforcement Worksheet

The Reinforced Earth Company

Reinforcement

Pile of Sand

Reinforcement Materials (students will use these materials as it is, do not need to process the materials)

Paper

Cloth

Wire Mesh

Plastic Sticks

Weight

Markers