Thursday, December 1, 2011

Physics: Newspaper Skyscraper

Every building enterprise requires the architect to overcome the forces of gravity and wind to literally rise to the challenge of building something both tall and stable. In our case, the kids were challenged to build skyscrapers out of newspaper and tape. Through trial and error the kids figured out different effective building techniques (e.g. folding the paper into various shapes and building a wider/heavier base).

Afterward we evaluated each tower by measuring its weight, height, and stability in the face of a powerful blow dryer. One of the interesting things we noticed was that different designs privilege one characteristic at the expense of another, meaning it's really hard to build a tower that is both stable and tall.

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