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 8


Session 1
Questions

What are the positive and negative aspects of mixing materials to reinforce soil?


Activities

Student Group Research

Student Experiments


Resources

Problem Solving Process diagram

Mixed Materials Worksheet

Competition Planning Worksheet


Outcomes

Learners will test how mixing materials can help in reinforcing soil.

Session 2
Questions

What materials and placement work best for reinforcing soil?


Activities

Entry Event

Cost Analysis Presentations and Soil Testing


Resources

Problem Solving Process Diagram

Competition Worksheet

space


Outcomes

Learners will apply and observe which materials and placement work best for reinforcing soil.

How can we make sand stand tall?


Entry Event

No entry event today – students will need the full class time to experiment and create a plan for the competition.


Student Group Research 25 minutes

Once split into their groups, students should review the design challenge details and the rules of the competition. Each group should make sure that all members of their team understand what has to be accomplished and the rules of the competition. If unsure ask a Boise State staff member to explain.

In this session, students will have the opportunity to mix-and-match the different materials they have worked with.

During this phase, it is up to each team to look at the resources available – in this session, mixed-materials – and to plan how best they can be used to complete tasks within the time available. Good planning is the key to any successful project. Every person on the team has a valid contribution to make and every idea should be evaluated on its merits. Students should occasionally check with the job specifications to make sure their ideas are aligned with the learning targets.

Students may use the mixed-materials worksheet, large butcher paper, or their own journals to take notes, sketch ideas, write down observations, etc.

Table 1 Price list for reinforcement materials
Reinforcement Type Unit Cost per Unit
Plastic Sticks 12" Long $2
Cloth 1 Sq. Feet $5
Wire Mesh 1 Sq. Feet $10
Paper 1 Sq. Feet $1

Resources

Paper

Mixed Materials worksheet

Markers

Pencils

Box

5kg Weight

Sand

Competition Planning Worksheet


Student Experiments 35 minutes

Students will take their initial plans and experiment with mixed-materials as a reinforcement for the soil. Each group will work together to test different amounts, positions, and layers of mixed-materials. While constructing, students should not forget to compact the soil. If you do not compact, the reinforcement effects are minimal. Students should be encouraged to continue testing different methods. Students will want to take good notes on what worked during their experimentation - and what didn’t. Students should also take notes on the costs associated with their build for future comparison. Students should be sure to make note of what worked best and how much it cost for future comparisons/considerations.


10 minute break


Student Post-Survey 20 minutes

Students fill out the Post-survey in this session. The researchers will prepare the surveys. The teacher will help collect the completed surveys and return the surveys to the researchers on site.

How can we make sand stand tall?


Entry Event 20 minutes Competition Day

Students will be given twenty minutes to prepare their soil reinforcements for testing. They can make any last-minute changes to their placement/materials, but should be sure to record all materials used, and the placement of the materials in their competition worksheet. This worksheet will be turned in to the facilitator later in the competition.


Cost Analysis 10 minutes

For the final designs that were built, students will estimate the cost of their reinforced soil by using the table in the worksheet (also provided below). The lowest costing design that meets the load specifications wins!

Table 1 Price list for reinforcement materials
Reinforcement Type Unit Cost per Unit
Plastic Sticks 12" Long $2
Cloth 1 Sq. Feet $5
Wire Mesh 1 Sq. Feet $10
Paper 1 Sq. Feet $1

Resources

Paper

Cloth

Plastic Sticks

Wire Mesh

Competition Work Sheet

Student Flags

Pencils

Box

5kg Weight

Sand

Competition Planning Worksheet


Presentations and Soil Testing 40 minutes

Once all teams have completed reinforcing, students will be asked to share their designs one by one. Students will introduce their team, explain the materials that they have chosen to use, and reveal the costs of their designs. Once introduced, the facilitator will start the testing process that includes removing the front face of the box and see if there is any deflection. After that a load of 5 kg will be placed on the soil surface and again observed for deflection. This process will be repeated for each group. Each wall will be tested individually with students making observations of each wall’s resiliency.


Judging the Performance & Student Break 10 minutes

Facilitators will compare the costs and the performance of the bridges and arrive at the winning team. The team will be announced to the class and audience once everyone has returned.


10 minute break


End of Session Reflection and Debriefing 5-10 minutes will be recorded

Teacher briefly explains the computational thinking (CT) skill embedded in the Problem Solving Process Diagram. 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 worked well?

What didn't work well?

What can I/we do differently next time?

Do you have anything more to share?

Session 2

Problem Solving Process Diagram

Competition Worksheet

Paper

Cloth

Plastic Sticks

Wire Mesh

Student Flags

Pencils

Box

5kg Weight

Sand