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:
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:
And bam – instant nostalgia to a simpler time.
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.