Weston Middle School

Technology/Engineering Course Materials

Weston, Massachusetts
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Grade 7 Design-Construction

 Floppy Towers  Links

Course Home



Class Notes




Additional Material

Lesson 1

o Design Brief: Working in pairs, build the highest free-standing tower you can.
o Constraints: You are limited to 5 sheets of copier paper and 6” of scotch tape per tower
o Performance criteria: The tower must stand for at least 30 seconds.

• A: At Least 50” tall
• B: At Least 40” tall
• C: At Least 30” tall

Next Class: Re-design
Summarize: What did you find? Dismiss from seats.

Lesson 2

• Prep:
• Paper in packets
• Cut dowels in 2
• Scissors
• Tape- no fixed amount; squares of aluminum tape String
Assign Partners

  • Review Issues:
    • Redundancy
    • Importance of Side Support- demonstrate with pole held at bottom—acts as hinge
    • Think: How can we create side support?

Today I will show you the technology for building paper towers:

Demonstrate Rolling technique with a half-sheet
Demonstrate joining technique w/metal tape or glued paper tape
Demonstrate interfacing supports with center to make a tripod

Lesson 2 or 3:
o Demonstrate guy wires with string

Alternate application: Stays on ship mast rigging.

Master and Commander-Preview- Note the forces on the mast and rigging.

Tents: A "Complete" structure, with elements in both tension and compression


The importance of learning from failure- there is no "bad" building-only specific issues that need to be corrected.
The importance of good craftsmanship and care in construction

Wimpy Antenna by Doug Prime

Master and Commander-Preview

Making Paper Cables

Revised January 2011 by Jonathan Dietz, dietzj@mail.weston.org