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Cylinders and Everyday Structures (Grade 1)

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Physics
Main Image
Physics
Activity Language
Grade
Time Needed for Activity

Test different structures to see how strong they are!

Students will build 3 cylinders from different types of paper and test them for strength. Then students are challenged to build a set of 4 cylinders to hold the most weight.

What You Need

  • Coloured printer paper (1-3 sheets per student)
  • White cardstock, or a different type of paper (1-2 sheets per student)
  • Tissue paper, 8.5" x 11" (1-2 per student)
  • Tape

Activity Guide:

Safety Notes

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What To Do

  • Tell students that they will be an engineer today! They will test to see if cylinders are strong and if so if the type of material makes a difference.
  • Each student will be given three types of paper and tape. 
  • Have them take one piece of printer paper and cut it into four pieces. To do this, have them fold their paper in half lengthwise, then fold each half again lengthwise. This will give them folds/creases where they need to cut.
  • Show them how to roll the paper so it makes a cylinder. Tape it so it does not come unrolled. Then, make three more cylinders from the other strips of paper.
  • Place the four cylinders in a square/rectangle pattern and place a book (or more) on top to see if the cylinders can hold it.
  • Do the same with the tissue paper and then the cardstock. Ask them if they think each paper will be stronger or not as strong as the printer paper.

Discovery

What's Happening?

The material we use to hold our structures together is as important as the material we use to build the structure. Engineers are scientists who think about the best materials to use when making structures so that they don't fall over and are able to support the weight that will be put on them or in them. Engineers will use strong shapes, such as triangles, arches and cylinders when building structures.

What's Happening?

The material we use to hold our structures together is as important as the material we use to build the structure. Engineers are scientists who think about the best materials to use when making structures so that they don't fall over and are able to support the weight that will be put on them or in them. Engineers will use strong shapes, such as triangles, arches and cylinders when building structures.

Why Does It Matter?

There are structures everywhere! It is important to make sure that the structures around us (our home, school, bridges, etc.) are strong and safe.

Why Does It Matter?

There are structures everywhere! It is important to make sure that the structures around us (our home, school, bridges, etc.) are strong and safe.

Investigate Further

  • Students can experiment by making the cylinders taller or shorter. Ask students: does that affect the number of books that it can hold up?
  • They can also experiment with how they position the cylinders.

Investigate Further

  • Students can experiment by making the cylinders taller or shorter. Ask students: does that affect the number of books that it can hold up?
  • They can also experiment with how they position the cylinders.

Resources