index next

Description of Strong Structures Project

After testing beams and columns to see which shape was the strongest, students were challenged to use 25 index cards and masking tape to build a strong structure.
The structure should have the least dead load possible, while also be able to support a large live load.
Students worked with a partner to first sketch their design, then to actually build the strong structure. The dead load of each structure was found using a spring scale.
Next, students used washers to test live load. Most of the structures were able to hold more weight than we had available in washers, so they began testing live load using books. Two of the structures were able to hold all of the books!
Some of the students made changes to their structures after their first live load test showed that their structure was not very strong.
They discovered that, for the most part, structures with cylindrical columns supported the most live load.

The Challenge

Robyn, Audrie, and Tinitra are building their strong structures.

Luli is finding the dead load of her structure using a spring scale.

Ben is using books to see how much live load his strong structure can hold.

Lauren and Sara used every book in the room. Their structure could have held more!

index previous next