STEM students in Marisa Rardon’s second grade class came to the rescue of Baltimore City after a wall collapsed due to faulty mortar holding the bricks together! Through this second grade Science simulation, students acting as structural engineers went to work to create a more durable mortar and wall design.
These eager structural engineers went right to work. First, they explored the properties of materials in order to determine which materials were best suited for creating a mortar mixture and wall design. Next, they followed the engineering design process to determine the best mixture for mortar, planned a design for their wall, built it, and tested its strength using a wrecking ball. Whew! That took days of working collaboratively and solving many problems! Next, they reported their findings to improve the guidelines for building retaining walls so a disaster like this one doesn’t occur again!
The students selected PowerPoint to present their research and test results. They included their results for testing the wall for strength using the wrecking ball, as well as the type of mortar their group decided was the best and why. Their PowerPoint presentations included photos of themselves completing the different steps of the Engineer Design Process. These young structural engineers were immersed in the process from start to finish! In the end, the students used OfficeMix to add a video of themselves reading their PowerPoint presentations. The mixes were then converted into videos to share with families and other classes.