Materials World Modules

An Inquiry & Design-Based Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Program

Mini Concrete Module

Comparing Different Concrete Formations
Testing Properties of Concrete

Design Project
Designing a Concrete Roofing Tile

Through the following key select activities, students learn how the components of concrete can be modified to alter the properties of concrete. They use their knowledge to make concrete roofing tiles that meet specific design and performance criteria.

MWM will give students an opportunity to understand the world around them in a way they have never experienced before. The modules promote an awareness of the roles science and technology play in society and guide students to take increased control of their work.

Module At-a-Glance

Module At-a-Glance

Activity 3: Comparing Different Concrete Formulations
Students make concrete samples using different formulations. They discover that the density of concrete can be changed by changing the proportions of its components-coarse aggregate, fine aggregate, cement, and water.

Activity 4: Testing Properties of Concrete
Using the samples they made in the previous Activity, students observe how the proportions of the components of concrete affect its strength and brittleness.

Design Project 1: Designing a Concrete Roofing Tile
Using what they learned about concrete from the Activities, students design and test prototypes of a concrete roofing tile. To be considered successful, the prototypes must meet specific design and performance criteria.

Connecting to Your Curriculum

Connecting to Your Curriculum

Materials World Modules are simple to organize and inexpensive to run. They are designed to be easily incorporated into any middle school science or high school science lab or lecture course. The chart below lists the subjects covered in the Activities and Design Projects sections of this module.

Physics & Physical Science

  • Forces
  • Loads and Stresses
  • Tensile and Compressive Forces
  • Energy
  • Work
  • Electrical Conductivity

Geology & Earth Science

  • Rocks and Minerals
  • Geochemical Cycles
  • Acid Rain
  • Earthquakes


  • Properties of Matter
  • Mixtures
  • Chemical and Physical Changes
  • Chemical Reactions
  • Bonding

Language Arts

  • Writing a report
  • Public speaking

Biology and Life Science

  • Biological Materials
  • Environmental Issues


  • Measuring
  • Graphing (Making, Reading and Interpreting)
  • Computing
  • Averages
  • Ratios

Technical Education

  • Designing
  • Building Materials
  • Composites
  • Construction Technology

Math Teaser

Building a Swimming Pool

So you want to build a concrete border around your outdoor swimming pool.  



How can the quadratic formula help you find the parameters?


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Standards Alignment

AAAS Benchmark Standards


NSES Standards


Grades 9-12 Designs Grades 9-12 Designs
1. The Nature of Science


A. Science as Inquiry


Scientific inquiry

Ability to do scientific inquiry

The Scientific enterprise

Understanding scientific inquiry

2. The Nature of Mathematics


B. Physical Science


Mathematics, science, and technology

Structure and properties of matter

3. The Nature of Technology


Chemical reactions

Technology and science

Motions and forces

Design and systems

C. Life Sciences


Issues in technology

The interdependence of organisms

4. The Physical Setting


Matter, energy, and organization in living systems

Structure of matter

D. Earth and Space Science



Energy in the earth system

Forces of nature

Geochemical cycles

5. The Living Environment


E. Science and Technology


Flow of matter and energy

Ability of technological design

8. The Designed World


Understanding science and technology

Materials and manufacturing

F. Science in Personal and Social Perspective


11. Common Themes


Natural resources


S&T in local, natiional, and global changes

Constancy and change

G. History and Nature of Science


12. Habits of Mind


Science as a human endeavor

Computation and estimation

Historical perspectives

Communication skills



Video Clips

Video Clips

Matthew Hsu talks about the Concrete: An Infrastructure Module
View Youtube video



Fiber-reinforced Concrete
Describes how fiber is used to reinforce concrete. Includes its theory, properties, and uses.

Portland Cement Association
Furnishes information about cement and concrete for a wide variety of infrastructure needs.


@ Materials World Modules