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Sent in by:
Samantha of Brookline, MA

Canti-what? A cantilever is a structure that sticks out way beyond its base. Try to build one.

Materials Needed

  • straws
  • 3 feet of masking tape
  • a ruler so you know you're not cheating



  1. Build your straw cantilever going out from a desk or table top as far as you can.
  2. It must be no lower than 22 inches off of the floor.
  3. You can use all the straws you want, but only 3 feet of masking tape.
  4. Samantha's structure went 66 inches out. Can you top that?

Some of your Results

Makayla, age 11 of Hallsville, MO wrote:
It was so much fun! We did so much stuff with it!

Amanda & Stacey of Cobourg, ON wrote:
One day we decided to make a cantilever. Science really interests us... in fact we would like scientists when we grow up. Anyways when we made our cantilever we spent over 2 months making it. When we tried it out it went 1 000 000 003 feet. TRY TOPPING THAT!!!

Zachary, age 8 of San Rafael, CA wrote:
I did it with my whole class. There were some pretty good scores, and the best one was 108 inches.

Brian, age 12 of Denver, CO wrote:
We built a cantilever that reached 216 cm long. We were able to extend it this far by building lots of supports. The major supports were an under straw extension support that held up the straight part up and a triangle base.

Andrea, age 12 of Farmington Hills wrote:
Mine went 60 feet out! It was really neat!

Chrissy B., age 11 of Harmony, NC wrote:
Mine went out 72 inches and then flopped.

Joel B., age 11 of Pittsburgh, PA wrote:
I had it going up and out but it got too heavy so I used straws to suport it. Mine got 58 inches from the table, but I couldn't make it any farther because I ran out of straws.

Noorann M., age 5 of Arlington, VA wrote:
Mine went 10" out.

Christopher, age 9 of Big Lake, AK wrote:
Mine was 69 inches out, like Pablo's and Lynese's and it was 24 inches high!

Allison W., age 12 of Jamestown, ND wrote:
It went 36 feet out

Robert P., age 10 of Tampa, FL wrote:
It went 100 centemeters out. We thought a dome would work.

Micki W., age 6 of NT wrote:
This was the coolest experiment I have done in my whole life! "ZOOM" is the coolest show in the universe!

Hans V., age 9 of Avon Park, FL wrote:
I started it on my toy shelf. When ever it got heavy I either put support straws or taped it to a straw that was attached to the shelf. It reached about 70 inches.

Jessica M., age 12 of Canton, MI wrote:
Mine was taken out to a country friend's house. My Family and friends helped me make mine. It went out 1450 feet! Try topping that!

Aubrey D., age 12 of West Jordan, UT wrote:
Mine went out 140 ft. Try to top that!

Seth C., age 12 of Grand Jct., CO wrote:
It went 100 feet out! Top that!!!

Equir Z., age 9 of NY wrote:
Mine went 30 ft and 11 in.

Jennifer C., age 11 of Ballwin, MO wrote:
My cantilever went out 90 centameters long and 48 inches high. That's almost as tall as my 8 year old brother!!!

Kayla, age 10 of St. Louis Park, MN wrote:
Well I made one and I made all the straws very very tight and strong. I used 122 straws and 3 feet of tape, and the one I made went 125 inches out!! It was soooooooo cool! My mom was very surprised, and happy she found out were all the straws went! LOL!

Ann/Erika, age 10 of San Antonio, TX wrote:
We had a triangle base starting off a five foot mailbox and supporters going down the side of the mailbox. Our final distance was 210 cm. using 79 sraws. We concluded that it fell over because it was to heavy in the front because we were trying to support it.

Erin E., age 10 of Albuquerque, NM wrote:
It worked!

Jill J., age 10 of Rochester, NY wrote:
I made a cantilever That stretched 134 in. It took 1 hour and my friend Jen helped me. It was of a 13 in. table. We kept putting on straws that stood tall and straight. Then we would tape the straws the structure it kept it up tall.

Daniel C., age 7 of Medway, MA wrote:
I made a Cantilever and it was 96" long! And I used 26 straws and 2+1/2 Ft. of tape

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