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Contractors in the Classroom: Concrete
Laird School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) students recently participated in a hands-on learning experience with Concord General Contracting and DLR Group, two companies who are part of the Laird rebuild project. Every two weeks, members from DLR and Concord present various construction topics to the Laird STEM students, relating the lessons back to their daily class curriculum. This week, Jason Beaver, Ted Kinsley, and Grenee Celuch from Concord led the students in an interactive lesson about concrete, laying the “foundation” for more lessons to come.
Students put their math lessons to the test during the first portion of this project. Beaver led the students in a lesson about area and volume, discussing how Concord uses those measurements when constructing new buildings, such as the new Laird School building. During the second session, students learned about the makeup of concrete and what goes into the perfect concrete mixture. Beaver compared the mixture of concrete to the story of Goldilocks – there must be the perfect proportions of water, rough aggregate (rocks), and fine aggregate (sand). The class also determined the volume of concrete they would need to fill their molds using the diameter, radius, and height of the mold.
After much anticipation, some smock shirts, a few hard hats, and plenty of rubber gloves, the time finally came for the students to pour concrete into their molds. Students used shovels to pour the concrete and finishing trowels to smooth out the concrete. During this process, Beaver and Kinsley explained to the students the best method to smooth out the mixture. Assistant Principal Edward Goldstein and Tempe Elementary Governing Board Member Evan Rogers even jumped in to help out the students.
“It is important to give students an experience to connect real-world application to classroom learning,” said Tempe Elementary School District STEM Coordinator Amy Bemis. “These experiences allow them to think deeper about the learning that takes place on a daily basis in the classroom.”
After the students worked with their mold and smoothed it out, they used nails to add their name or initials. Some students got creative and decided to leave their handprint in the concrete. Students described the concrete as cold and squishy.
Grenee Celuch of Concord said, “Construction isn’t just dirt and machinery. In order to build a new school, it takes a talented group of individuals to make the project a success.” She continued, “We enjoy interacting with students during the building process to apply their day-to-day learning into real life experiences. Someday they will be building the future!”
Concord and DLR will continue visiting Laird School throughout the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year while Laird School is being rebuilt. For construction updates, visit www.tempeschools.org/lairdconstruction and check back for more “Contractors in the Classroom” updates!