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Science Rocks!

Geodesic Dome


your results

Sent in by:
Ms. Hsu's 3rd grade class of Brookline, MA

For this ZOOMsci, you da dome!

Materials Needed

  • newspaper
  • masking tape
  • measuring tape
  • markers for decorating



  1. Geodesic domes are made up of a pattern of connected triangles and are very strong. You can build a giant geodesic dome out of newspaper. First, gather some friends to help you out.
  2. Next, stack three flat sheets of newspaper together. Starting in one corner, roll the sheets up together as tightly as you can to form a tube. When you reach the other corner, tape the tube to keep it from unrolling. Repeat until you have 65 tubes.
  3. Now cut down the tubes to make 35 "longs" and 30 "shorts.
  4. To make the "longs," cut off both ends of a tube until it is 71cm long. Use this tube as a model to create 34 more longs. Be sure to mark all the longs clearly in some way, such as with colored tape, so you can tell them apart from the shorts.
  5. To make the "shorts," cut off both ends of another tube until it is 66cm long. Use this tube as a model to create 29 more shorts.
  6. Decorate the tubes if you like.
  7. Next, tape 10 longs together to make the base of the dome.
  8. Tape a long and a short to each joint. Arrange them so that there are two longs next to each other, followed by two shorts, and so on.
  9. Tape the tops of two adjacent shorts together to make a triangle. Tape the next two longs together, and so on all the way around.
  10. Connect the tops of these new triangles with a row of shorts. (The dome will start curving inward.)
  11. At each joint where four shorts come together, tape another short sticking straight up. Connect this short to the joints on either side with longs, forming new triangles.
  12. Connect the tops of these new triangles with a row of longs.
  13. Finally, add the last five shorts so that they meet at a single point in the center of the dome. (You might need to stand inside the dome to tape them together.) To test your dome's strength, see how many magazines you can load to top.

How strong was your dome? Did the results surprise you? Why or why not? What was the hardest part when you created your dome? How could you have made your dome stronger? Make a prediction, test it out, and then share your thoughts with other ZOOMers by sending them to our special feedback area.

Some of your Results

Jim, age 14 of Mendon, UT wrote:
I am planning to make two of these domes one will be an enormous tent and the other will be a giant titanium and glass greenhouse.

Olivia, age 10 of New Rochelle, NY wrote:
In science class each 2 classes competed to see who could make the strongest geodesic dome. We watched a zoom video on how to make it and the dome from my class was the strongest. It held about 7 textbooks and somebody even pushed down on it to ruin our dome and it still stood up while the other completely fell down. Thanks Zoom!

Stephanie, age 12 of Ontario wrote:
when I tryed this experment the dome held me up for ten seconds then it broke. do you know another way how the dome could hold me up longer?

Gunner, age 12 of Casey, IL wrote:
Well I built mine and stacked science books on top it held 8 so far

ZOOM Fan, age 10 of Maywood, NJ wrote:
We made your Geodesic Dome but part of the directions were confusing so we improvised. The diameter of our Dome is 8ft. The height is 3ft. It started to collapse at 5 and a half pounds. We are a little disapointed, we could have made it stronger. We havent fully destroyed it yet, because tonight is back to school night. So we think that it would have helped if you included pictures, and more specific details.

Kacey, age 10 of Sunderland, MA wrote:
When I tryed the Geo Dome it was really hard. The directions weren't that clear so it was really hard to make. When I tryed to see how strong it was it wouldn't even hold one book!

Kanga, age 9 of S.A., TX wrote:
In my PROMISE class we built 3, 3 foot domes in 3 hours and even decoorated them!!!

Samantha, age 9 of NJ wrote:
Mine turned out really strong because I put a four-sided triangle under it and it supported my brother and my sister!

Sam, age 10 of Longmont, CO wrote:
Well I had a freind who helped me but he didnt read the instructions so the dome was not a big dome it was a 2 foot tall mini dome!

Andrea, age 9 of Bismark, ND wrote:
Making the triangles went pretty well, but when we started putting the triangles together... lets just say it didn't go the way I expected.

Jael, age 8 of New York City, NY wrote:
It fell over so you need to make it strong.

Florencia & Ana, age 11 of Miami, FL wrote:
When I did the geodesic dome it was a little hard. It took like seven people to do it.

Billy Bob of Kapolei, HI wrote:
It was easy to make but I got some help from other classmates it was a project we had to do for geometry. Ours came out strong but not stronger than the other team.

Timberly, age 6 of East Helena, MT wrote:
I took newspaper, and rolled it up. It was hard to make triangles, so I made circles. I also put newspaper on the bottom, so it would make 'land'. And I decorated it with stickers.

Briana, age 11 of Pinson, AL wrote:
It was very hard because nobody was around to help me with the paper and everything. But I found out that if u put more than three sheets of paper it makes the triangular stronger and it makes a bigger dome.

Cty Camp, age 11 of Bethlehem, PA wrote:
Our summer camp built four domes. Two domes held five books, and one held one book, and the last one held three books. It was fun and it took a lot of time. We stacked all four on top of each other and it held eleven books!

Ceili, age 5 of Medford, OR wrote:
I made a dome out of magnet pieces. I then put a paperback book small size and a 100 piece puzzle in a box on top of it. It held but then I tried a tin box with crayons and it collapsed. So, I think a dome is pretty strong but it does have a limit.

Tiffany, age 12 of Humble, TX wrote:
My WINGS class built a geodesic dome in 5th grade. We had a contest between the 4th grade class to see whose dome could support more weight. Ours lost. We discovered that our dome wasn't very sturdy on one side and that it needed more balance. We tried it again and it supported 3 encyclopedias!

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