Learning in the Making: Shapes in Nature

Join us in Learning in the Making: LIVE! This is a two part series with special guest educators from the Lawrence Hall of Science, Cassia and Reyna

Part 1: Build a Shelter for Oliver with Newspaper Dowels

Join the fun as we explore shapes in nature! What shapes do animals use to build their outdoor shelters? Where do they build their shelters? Design a shelter to keep your stuffed animal safe and cozy using newspaper dowels. Have fun creating and innovating with this engineering design challenge. Build, test, and try it again!

Follow along with the video below to explore shapes in nature with Cassia, Dora, and Reyna as they learn about the structures that animals create. Make sure you bring some paper, tape, and your own toy or animal! 

Part 2: Design It, Build It with Newspaper Dowels

After exploring shapes in nature to build a shelter, we will continue using newspaper dowels to explore strength and stability while building structures. Is a single piece of paper strong enough to hold up a water bottle? Which shapes provide the most strength and stability in different structures? Join us next week to explore these ideas—using newspaper, tape, and your creativity! Have fun with principles of engineering, physics, and geometry as you design and build sturdy structures and other cool creations.

Watch Part 2 of our Shapes in Nature series below. Make sure you bring some paper, tape, and your own toy or animal! 

To make newspaper dowels, use these simple directions or watch this short video. Materials you will need:

  • Newspaper (other options: paper, magazines or catalogs)
  • Tape (scotch or masking) 
  • Drinking Straws (other options: wooden dowels, round chopsticks, markers, pencils)

Want to explore this activity on your own at home? Download our project guides—available in both English & Spanish! 

Learning in the Making: Shapes in Nature
Project Guide in English
Guía de proyecto en Español

The Lawrence Hall of Science has a lot more ideas to share! Here are some of our favorite resources:

  • The Lawrence At Home features fun science videos for kids and families.
  • Are you looking to explore the surface of the Sun from your phone? Lawrence Hall of Science has an app for that!  
  • HowToSmile collects the best hands-on activities on the web for kids of all ages. Visit now for 3000+ freely accessible science and math activities covering almost any subject you can think of.

Looking for additional inspiration? Take a look at these:

We want to see your projects! After the livestream, we encourage you to post your structures on Twitter or Instagram. Tag us @MakerEdOrg with #MakerEdAtHome and #ShapesInNature

Learning in the Making: LIVE! is an online video series designed to support educators and families with accessible hands-on learning experiences. This work is part of our focus on supporting remote learning in various environments. (To learn more, read this blog post about our work during shelter-in-place measures in 2020.) 

Each week, we are hosting a live making activity on our YouTube channel and sharing related resources on our blog. 


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