Week 6

Session 2

Guiding Question

  • How can we make sand stand tall?


  • What are the positive and negative aspects of using cloth as reinforcement materials?


  • Learners will test how to best use cloth in reinforcing soil.

CT Components

Data Collection

  • Document different amounts, positions, and layers of cloth as reinforcement; calculate the cost of all materials

Data Analysis

  • Summarize what worked and what did not

Problem Solving

  • Test & redesign different amounts, positions, and layers of cloth as reinforcement

Entry Event

10 minutes

The competition is coming soon! Students will gather in their small groups and pick a team name and color. The facilitator will allow the students several minutes to discuss their ideas and each group will share their decisions. The facilitator may need to offer some examples such as: The Silver Snakes, The Green Jedis, The Blue Boise Broncs, etc. If two teams select the same color, students will be asked to ro-sham-bo (rock, paper, scissors) to see who wins the color right. All teams and colors and names will be written down somewhere in the classroom for reference. This is just a short, fun team-building activity to get students invested and excited for the future competition.

Student Group Research

5 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.

Note: Students will have the opportunity to mix-and-match materials in a future session, but today’s session will focus exclusively on the plastic stick.

During this phase, it is up to each team to look at the resources available – in this session, cloth – 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 cloth worksheet, large butcher paper, or their own journals to take notes, sketch ideas, write down observations, etc.


10 minute break

Student Experiments

35 minutes

Students will take their initial plans and experiment with the cloth as a reinforcement for the soil. Each group will work together to test different amounts, positions, and layers of cloth. 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.

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

  • How did I use the problem solving skills/processes/CT components?