First graders spent time today completing the three tests they designed for each of the three mortars--sand, soil, and clay. Testing materials is an important part of an engineer's work, and today, the results of our tests surprised us. Not one mortar passed all three tests. This means none of them will be a strong and sticky enough mortar for our walls. What should we do now materials engineers?
Now that first graders have made observations for both dry and wet mortars, they still have questions about what happens to it after it dries. Will the clay still be the stickiest mortar once the moisture is gone? There's only one way to find out! Test it (and the others)!
Each class came up with their own tests to see if the mortars stay strong and sticky once they dry. Ms. Hall's class came up with the wall test, the sandwich test, and the earthquake test. Ms. McDonald's class also had the sandwich and earthquake tests, and named their third test the up-and-down test. We will wait until the mortars dry to test each of them.
None of the earth materials were sticky enough when they were dry. So first graders wanted to add water to them and make a mixture. Would making a mixture make them stickier?
Adding water to each of the earth materials, first graders observed how the properties changed. Every earth material got darker, and they also all got stickier, too! There was a range of colors and stickiness, making students think about how some mixtures would make a better mortar than others.
First graders' next steps will be designing tests to find out which earth material is truly the stickiest and strongest once it dries!
As materials engineers, it is important to know and understand the types of materials available for creating a technology. Remember that as materials engineers, first graders will be making their own mortars to build a wall out of rocks. Their walls will keep a hungry bunny out of a school garden!
It is more affordable to make our own mortars than buying them, so we're looking to use earth materials. We're first exploring the earth materials when they are dry, identifying the distinguishing properties between clay, sand, and soil. Are they smooth? Soft? Sticky? What size are their particles? Are the particles the same size or different sizes?
Materials engineers are constantly exploring materials. They think about how they can use materials differently and for different purposes. First graders are working on expanding their "imagination" skills to see how different materials can be used for the same purpose. Then, they are thinking about how some materials are better for one purpose more so than another!
What are the materials used in your favorite technologies?