Learning to Harden Up!

Creating Strong Concrete: By Room 13 and Room 1

This week in the Ruru Syndicate we did a concrete experiment. The aim was to make the strongest slab of concrete. This is part of our building project. We were allowed to use reinforcements such as nails, screws, wire, chicken mesh and much more. This essay will enlighten you to our process, how to to make a strong concrete slab.

To be safe during the concrete experiment, we needed to use the correct safety equipment.  This consists of a dust mask and a pair of latex gloves. We also need to be alert around cement so it doesn’t get on our skin, as this could irritate you.   If the cement is in contact with your skin, wash it off as soon as possible. We need to be very careful to not breathe in the dusty chemicals, which is why we need to wear our masks at all times.

Here are the steps you will need to take to make successful concrete:

First, you will need to create the correct ratio, which is 1 part cement powder and 3 parts sand. So if you had a cup of dry ingredients then you should have ¼ of a cup of cement and ¾ of a cup of sand.

Step 1: Place your dry ingredients in the bowl

Step 2: Grab a spoon a mix it together

Step 3: Pour water into the dry ingredients

Step 4: Mix thoroughly

Step 5: Make sure the texture of the mix is a smooth consistency

Step 6: Carefully pour the mix into the ready-made mould

Step 7: Add any extra materials, such as reinforced steel, stones, netting, wire, or other items you think will strengthen the concrete.

Step 8: Once finished, place in a dry area to sit for up to 2 days.

 

Part of this experiment was about working together. We needed to work as a mighty tribe, which means we had to cooperate and work together as a helpful team. We had to organize who mixes the concrete, who made the mould, who searches up how to make concrete, and what should we add to strengthen our concrete. Our experience in making concrete also taught us how to be more patient and loyal to each other. Guess what?! We even learnt how to make concrete.

Overall, making concrete from a variety of materials is rather difficult. There is a lot of waiting and a lot of mess. Also, each group had a different result e.g. having big blobs or other groups having a flat looking ingot of concrete. Some had a hard time drying, for others, it was really easy. Yet we all ended up with a concrete brick at the end which was all around the same size. We will test the strength of each brick when it has cured long enough to see which reinforcing agent was the most effective. This activity showed how we can use skills learned in maths, eg ratios, and apply them to real-life situations.  

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