Education Through Entertainment

The Strength of a Curve | Super Structures

Posted on Thu, Jan 25, 2018

Last time on Super Structures we showed you how incredibly strong an egg can be.  This time, marvel at the strength a curve can provide.  Check out this amazing demonstration that you Jr. Engineers can try yourself from the one and only Jasmine Blaise.

In this short video, learn how strong a curve can be using some common items.



You can try this yourself!

All you need:

- Toilet paper tubes (at least 4)

- A wooden board or a plastic tray

- A cinder block, dumbell, or other heavy object

Try it!

Hold a toilet paper tube.  It doesn't feel like a very strong structure, does it?  In fact, you can crush it by squeezing down on the long-side of it!  It doesn't take much force at all.

However, if you set up the toilet paper tube on its end, it becomes much stronger!

Set up 4 toilet paper tubes, as if they were the corners of a rectangle, all on their ends.

Now, place your board or tray on top of the toilet paper tubes.  The weight of that alone would have crushed the tubes flat, but now, they are able to hold it!  

Let's test the strength of the tubes even more by adding more weight!  Carefully place your cinder block (or other similarly heavy object) onto the board.  Don't drop it!  Just carefully set it upon the board.

Did the toilet paper tubes hold the weight?  Try it and find out!


This is just one of many architectural demonstrations from the school assembly program Super Structures!

Mobile Ed Productions, Inc. Presents Super Structures - STEAM School Assembly Program

It's easy to bring Jasmine Blaise and her Super Structures presentation to your school this year!  Just click the button below to get things started.

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Topics: technology activities for kids, ideas for STEM, video, STEAM, DIY, STEAM Activity, STEM Activity, Fun, Super Structures, ideas for science assemblies