Lesson Plans

THE CHALLENGE: Structures

Content: Structures, Materials
Theme: Furniture

Engineers design most of the things in our world—buildings, toys, roads, electronic devices, cars, etc. They figure out the best materials to use and how to turn them into the things we use every day.

In this hands–on challenge, students consider ways to strengthen weak materials—paper and cardboard—and use them to make furniture that can support a load. In the process, they see how changing a material's shape affects its strength and experiment with how supports reinforce a structure. Students also conduct a peer review of the prototypes and, following the design process, revise, test, and improve their furniture.

Get more resources about the engineering of structures.

IN CLASS

As they build a table with newspaper, students learn strategies for making a weak material stronger, while also exploring structures and supports.

AT HOME

During this "At Home" challenge, students will identify how they would improve their bedroom or another room in the house with a custom piece of furniture they design.

CLASSROOM WRAP-UP

Students will display their final paper tables for a peer review in which the strengths and weaknesses of each design are discussed. Then, students will have a chance to see how contestants on DESIGN SQUAD handled a similar challenge.