Eighth grade science students had a smashing good time on their first day back from winter break by testing the integrity of concrete blocks that they had constructed before the break.
Leading up to break, 8th graders researched, brainstormed, and constructed blocks with the goal of using materials that could withstand a maximum amount of force – similar to the stress that large trucks apply to bridges over many years.
“To keep the challenge as open-ended as possible, the students were given a wide array of materials,” said Michelle Hrastich, 8th Grade Science Teacher. “They had lots to choose from… differently sized aggregates, large rubber erasers, metal strips, clay, straws, popsicle sticks and cotton fibers,” to name a few.
The students were required to use a certain amount of cement and water, but everything else was up to them. The students found that too much of any one material cause problems – especially sand and cobblestones. The blocks were tested with a metal weight being dropped from increasing heights.
Which composition held up best? That recipe will remain a secret.
“We wouldn’t want to take away from our future 8th-grade engineers!” said Ms. Hrastich.
To see the experiment in action, watch the video below: