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Newspaper Towers

A single sheet of newspaper isn’t very strong on its own. Add another sheet or two and it becomes sturdier. Folding or rolling a few pieces of newspaper together increases their strength even more and can lead to a much stronger structure that can support weight and withstand wind.

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Plan

  • What supplies will you need for this activity?  
  • How much tape will each person be allowed to use to build their tower? How much paper?  
  • Will there be a time limit on your building challenge? How much time will you have to build your tower?  
  • How will you compare different towers? 
  • What do you know about strong shapes and building tall structures?  
  • How will you care for the environment in the disposal of unused papers and of your towers after the adventure is over?

Do

  • Have each person start off with the same amount of paper and tape. 
  • Using the supplies you have, try to build the tallest tower possible. For an added challenge, try using only a single sheet of paper. Your tower should be able to withstand a gust of wind (blowing on it from 30cm away). 
  • Each tower should be free-standing and movable 
  • Measure your towers – whose tower is the tallest?  

Review

  • What do you know now that you did not know before?  
  • What shapes worked well for your tower?  
  • What other structures could you build using newspaper?  
  • What elements of STEM did you use in this adventure? Science? Technology? Engineering? Mathematics?  
  • What did you like about this adventure? What did you not like? How would you do this adventure differently? 

Materials

  • Paper – newspaper works best, but printer paper is fine too 
  • Tape 
  • Scissors 
  • Measuring tape or ruler

Keep it Simple

  • Watch the newspaper towers video before you start to get some ideas about how to make a paper tower that can stand up by itself. Then, start building.   

Take it Further

  • What else can you make out of paper? Try making bridges and see if they can hold the weight of a small toy car or learn how to fold a simple origami craft.