Composite Materials

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This is an activity (located on page 3 of PDF under Hockey Sticks Activity) about composites, materials made of 2 or more different components. Learners will be challenged to build the best mud bricks, one of the earliest examples of composites. From a supply of various building components, which the learners will examine for their different properties, they will build mud bricks, then dry them and put them through several tests. *Bricks must bake in the sun for 2-3 days prior to testing. Resource contains information about how this activity relates to carbon nanotubes and links to video, DragonflyTV Nano: Hockey Sticks.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 7 days

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • dirt or soil
  • water
  • flour
  • sand
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • container to use as a mold (aluminum foil loaf pan or old juice or milk container)
  • straw, wheat or dried grass of various thicknesses
  • toothpicks
  • bucket
  • weights (books, rocks, water, etc.)
  • notebook and pencil


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
      • Nanotechnology
    • Technology
      • Construction
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • DragonflyTV


  • All rights reserved, Twin Cities Public Television, Inc., 2008

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 741749