This past September, fourth grade students in Mrs. Amy Acton’s STEM class participated in a lab where they investigated the strength of shapes. Using paper, student groups created tents, upright triangles, and cylinders. They then predicted which structural shape would support the greatest number of books. Each prediction was tested to discover how the shapes held up under force.
It was concluded that the cylinder is the strongest geometric shape. Cylinders are able to be incredibly strong, regardless of the material they’re made out of, because they disperse stress throughout their entire shape.
This lab is in preparation for a unit about bridges and bridge building. Student teams will be designing and building bridges using toothpicks and glue. Throughout this intensive project, students will be applying a variety of science and math skills, including measuring, estimating, and adding and subtracting large numbers.
STEM class occurs during Club 45, which is the Intermediate School’s enrichment/intervention period.