Paper Bridges

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What's Going On (continued)

Wood Beams drawing

In construction with steel beams, I beams are used just for this reason--to put most of the steel where the greatest stress is experienced. In the paper construction, rolled tubes of paper prove to be very strong. Again, most of the paper here is put on the edges where the stresses are greater.


  • Other paper-building activities and testing can extend this work. Can you build a paper column that will support a book? Can you build a strong paper wall? Design a test to find the strongest paper beam. All of these questions look at the interplay between properties of the material (paper) and form.

  • Building paper bridges with other kinds of paper can also extend this work. What can you do with a single sheet of newspaper? How about a sheet of tissue paper? What can you build with a sheet of tagboard?

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