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Cylinders and Shapes (Grade 3)

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Engineering Volunteer Activities
Main Image
Engineering Volunteer Activities
Activity Language
Grade
Time Needed for Activity

Students use paper and build different shaped columns, test them for strength, and are then challenged to make 4 columns using only paper that will hold the most weight.

What You Need

Materials:

  • 6 sheets of printer type paper per student
  • 2 sheets of white card stock per student 
  • Tape (4-6 rolls of scotch tape if the educator is giving out pieces)
  • Students will need a book (or a few) to test their shapes for strength

PowerPoint:

Guide:

 

Safety Notes

As a Let’s Talk Science volunteer, safety must be foremost in our minds during all activities. As STEM role models, volunteers must always also model safe science practices. 

Always keep in mind the following precautions:

  • Emphasize and demonstrate appropriate safety procedures throughout the presentation.
  • Be professional but have fun.
  • Keep workspaces clean to avoid tripping hazards.
  • Allergens should have been checked before reserving the kit (e.g. allergies to latex).

What To Do

Activity: 3 Shapes

  1. Take one piece of paper and fold it equally on 4 equal folds lengthwise by folding it in half first, then each half in half. Shape it into a square and tape it where the two ends of the paper meet.
  2. Take another piece of paper and fold it in 3 parts lengthwise to make a triangle shape and tape it where the two ends of the paper meet.
  3. Lastly, take a piece of paper and roll it into a circle shape lengthwise and tape it where the two ends of the paper meet.
  4. Take a book (start with something light) and place it on top of the square. What happens? Is it strong enough to hold a book? Try two books or more weight to see what happens. 

Activity: 4 Columns

Your task is to make the strongest set of 4 columns you can with one sheet of paper. You'll have 10 minutes to do this.

  1. Use only 1 piece of printer paper
  2. Make 4 of fewer columns using only one shape.
  3. The columns can be any diameter but cannot be shorter than 2.5 inches (~6.4cm).
  4. You'll test your final version using books.
  5. You can only use one sheet of paper but you can make changes if needed as long as you do it before the time is up. 

Discovery

Investigate Further

If time permits, get the students to try the cylinder activity with cardstock and get them to predict what will happen.

Investigate Further

If time permits, get the students to try the cylinder activity with cardstock and get them to predict what will happen.

Resources

PowerPoint:

Guide: