top of page

A Glimpse through the 3-Day Mud Building Block Workshop

Mud building Block Workshop

Our 6th graders participated in a 3-day Mud Building Block workshop with Smt. Meenakshi Umesh from Puvidham. In this blog, let’s look at how the 3-day mud construction workshop unfolded from the perspectives of our 6th grade children.

Day 1:  Exploring the Foundations

Introductions

The first day commenced as we gathered in Tagore Hall to meet our mentor, Ms. Meenakshi Mam. Seated in a circle, she introduced herself and initiated a thought-provoking discussion. Questions such as "Why did we start using mud for building houses?" and "What are the benefits?" sparked creative answers from our group. Ms. Meenakshi mam also challenged us with the question of "Why we shifted to cement despite the known benefits of mud?". Initially confused, we collectively brainstormed and voiced our perceptions.

Mud building Block Workshop

Home work and Hands-On Soil Exploration

Following this, she tasked us with drawing rough drafts of our houses. We received homework to measure rooms using unconventional units like handspan, cubit, foot span, and fingers.

Next, we were split into groups, and went to three different locations around the campus, digging 1-foot pits. Each team collected bottom and top layer soil from the pits, meticulously labelling them as instructed.

Mud building Block Workshop

Returning with our soil samples, Ms. Meenakshi mam asked us to place about 5cm of soil into 10cm jars, filling them with water. After shaking the mixture, we left them undisturbed. The next task involved feeling each type of soil to separate the best one for building purposes. The session ended with a lunch break.

Mud building Block Workshop

Art of Mud Balls

Post-lunch, we engaged in creating mud balls with each type of soil, allowing them to dry. Towards the end of the day, we experimented with preparing balls using bottom soils from different pits in various proportions, labelling them, and setting them aside for sun drying.

Mud building Block Workshop

Understanding Soil Layers 

Ms. Meenakshi enlightened us about the layers of soil, highlighting GRAVEL, COARSE SAND, FINE SAND, SILT, CLAY, and HUMUS. After a day filled with happy learning, we concluded our Day 1 of the Mud building Block workshop.

Mud Building Block workshop

Day 2: Nature's Contribution and Creative Design

On the second day, our journey took us to Aadhivanam, where we lined up with our pairs. Ms. Meenakshi Mam guided us through the significance of six different leaves - Neem, Castor, Aloe Vera, Veppalai, Erukkam, and Nochchi. She elaborated on the importance of these leaves in soil enhancement and sustainability.

Leaf Collection and Preparation

Following the informative session, we set out to collect the assigned leaves for our groups. Once gathered, we engaged in the process of plucking and crushing them into bits using rocks and hammers. The crushed leaves were then added to a drum along with water, 1 kg of Kadukkai, 2 kgs of Jaggery, and 10 litres of Komiyam (cow urine). The mixture was then covered with a sack and left aside for further use.

Mud building Block Workshop

Reviewing Homework and Designing Houses

Returning to Tagore Hall, we assembled in pairs to review our homework and share our house designs. Ms. Meenakshi Mam distributed graph sheets and provided guidance on drawing accurate house blueprints. Further, using measurements like foot span, we created scales, for example, 1 box = 5-foot spans, and incorporated them into our drawings.

Mud building Block Workshop

A refreshing fruit break preceded our return to Tagore Hall. Later, we discussed about our designs during lunch. After an exchange of ideas, we collectively decided to build a nest room, reflecting the diversity of all our creative inputs.

Brick Making at the Tree House

The afternoon session led us to our school’s treehouse, near which lay a considerable pile of clay sand. Ms. Meenakshi Mam provided clear instructions as we collectively stomped the clay, adding water when necessary.

Mud building Block Workshop

Demonstrating the art of brick-making, she guided us through the process, with some of us getting the chance to mould bricks using stencils. Afterwards, we washed the brick stencils, ourselves, and wrapped up the day's activities.

Mud building Block Workshop

The peak of the day 2 of Mud Building Block Workshop left us with newfound knowledge, practical skills, and a connection to the sustainable construction process.

Day 3: Learning and Action

Sedimented Layers

The third and final day of our Mud Building Workshop began, as we checked the glass bottles, waiting for sedimentation that we set up on the first day. True to our hopes, the layers had settled, revealing the composition of gravel, coarse sand, fine sand, silt, clay, and humus - organic matters. The meticulous process of measurement followed, with Ms. Meenakshi diligently recording each nuance in her notebook.

Mud Building Block workshop

Resilience of the Mud Balls

With the insights gained, we turned our attention to the balls crafted from both top and bottom soil. As a testament to our learning, only one ball emerged as resilient enough to transform into bricks. Also, we stumbled upon another revelation that in the creation of mixture balls; intriguingly, three or four of these balls exhibited remarkable strength, sparking our enthusiasm. The group collectively decided to take a refreshing fruit break to recharge our energies before getting into the next phase.

Mud building Block Workshop

Waste to Compost

In the spirit of sustainability, we then ventured behind the dining hall to learn about converting waste food into compost. The process took place as we cleaned dry bushes, contributing to a healthier environment.

Next, with the newfound knowledge of the day we ascended to the tree house and armed with resilient mixture balls, we worked on brick-making. As we moulded numerous bricks, each a testament to our collective commitment to sustainable construction. After the creative session, we carefully arranged the freshly crafted bricks, allowing them the time to bask in the warmth of the sun, patiently drying to perfection.

Mud Building Block workshop

Lunchtime Delight

The midday sun signalled a break, and we indulged in the school lunch, a delightful spread that replenished both body and soul. Energized and content, we eagerly awaited the next phase of our workshop. As our teachers and helpers engaged in sessions with Meenakshi Mam, we found ourselves with the luxury of free time as a reward for our hard work.

To Conclude

As the day drew to a close, we reflected on the invaluable experiences and lessons imprinted on our minds and hearts. With a sense of accomplishment and joy, we left to our homes with new knowledge and a great appreciation for mud building, sustainability, and the beautiful synergy of science and creativity. Overall, the Mud Building Block Workshop imparted an understanding of raising natural buildings and their positive environmental impact.


- 6th Graders

Agastya Academy

Comments


bottom of page