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!
- 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!
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:
- Bring the wonder of the natural world into your home with activities from Nature Bridge
- For some engineered creatures, watch Strandbeests, pvc creatures that walk on beaches
- What knocks a building down? Read about the forces at play in How buildings work
- Interested in the physics and geometry behind strong shapes? Find out more in this middle school lesson by WGBH, Shapes that make structures strong, or Polygons, Angles and Trusses, Oh My!, a high school lesson by CU Boulder.
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.