Week 7

Session 2

Guiding Question

  • How can we make sand stand tall?


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


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

CT Components

Data Collection

  • Document different amounts, positions, and layers of paper 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 mesh as reinforcement

Entry Event

10 minutes

Students will continue working on their team flag. The facilitator will allow the students time to continue working on their designs from previous session. Students should be encouraged to work as a team to design, sketch, and color together. Once their designs are completed, the facilitator will collect the pieces so that they can be shared during the competition. Again, the goal of this session is to create team cohesiveness and excitement for the upcoming 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.

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, plastic sticks – 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 paper 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 paper as a reinforcement for the soil. Each group will work together to test different amounts, positions, and layers of paper. 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?