This Week in the Classroom: Mobile Base (The Volleyball Court)

Two weeks ago, my colleague and I had an interesting revelation.  While installing a basketball hoop, we had extra cement.  I had a shovel-ready stimulus bill waiting for him.  It looked something like this:

Once the trailer gets removed after the renovation...keep'm.

Which looks exactly like it is (brilliant statement there).  It’s a empty tire (the rims lost to another project) with a wood bottom/plug.  The metal thing in the middle is some sort of salvaged structural bracket which can hold a two inch pole of PVC or galvanized piping.  Two eyebolts/lag bolts can be cranked onto the pole in order to secure it to the base.  Being 3/8″ hex heads on those bolts, my students can practice using a ratchet.

My colleague began the concrete pour:

Pouring My Concrete Shoes

And bam – instant nostalgia to a simpler time.

After & Before Picture

Refracting back, this project allowed for an exploration of two things:  gross motor skills and chemical changes.  Motor-wise, shoveling well is an art form.  Trust me.  More on that later.

Chemically, concrete is a great example of a chemical change (forget whether it’s endo or exothermic, though in the moment you can tell) – I usually work in observation and some hypothesis making conversation in the beginning of a project like this and have a student summarize at the end.  Observation skills have a place in my classroom, especially with the younger/inexperienced learners.  Often, the see an action (water into concrete) but fail to observe the actual thought behind the action (measuring just enough or pouring slowly from a hose).  Quick satisfying projects like this can really accentuate the necessity for strong observation skills to a student.

I’d give the time, start to finish (now, I had made all parts during previous projects) about an hour.

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