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Build Newspaper Towers...and Test Their Stability!

Middle School Geometry Activities: Build Newspaper Towers...and Test Their Stability!

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See more activities in: Middle School, Geometry

As your young learner studies structures, he may hear that the strongest shape is the triangle. Put this architectural idea to the test by building two different newspaper towers with your child. He'll test and observe each structure's stability…trying his hand at engineering as he explores this important architectural concept.

What You Need:

  • Newspapers
  • Masking tape
  • Heavy desk stapler
  • Large paper plate
  • Pennies

What You Do:

  1. Your child will be building two towers, one made out of cubes (horizontals and verticals) and the other consisting of triangles (cubes with diagonal braces). Each tower will be two cubes tall. Start by helping your child roll newspaper into tubes. Take one sheet of newspaper, folded so that you see one full page. Roll from a short side, making a tube approximately one inch thick. Tape. Make 20 for each tower.
  2. Using staples and tape, help your child make a cube.Take 8 more newspaper tubes, and build a second cube on top of the first. Reinforce the joints with tape. You have completed one tower, two cubes tall.
  3. Repeat step 2 to build the second tower.
  4. The braces are also of rolled newspaper but need to be slightly longer than the original tubes. Take one sheet of newspaper, folded so that you see one page and fold this page in half, top to bottom. Roll from one corner to other. Tape. Make 11 braces.
  5. Staple or tape one of these braces diagonally across each side, the top and the base of the bottom cube in the second tower. Repeat the process with the four sides and the top of the upper cube.
  6. Do they both stand easily? It may take some shifting to get the one without braces to remain upright.;
  7. Place a paper plate on each tower.Add pennies until one tower topples. Which one turned out to be strongest? Why does he think that is?
Updated on Aug 16, 2012
See more activities in: Middle School, Geometry
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