Looking for something fun to make at home? Each week we are collecting and curating resources around a topic and the next two weeks are about structural engineering—buildings constructed by animals (May 6) and humans (May 13)!
Join us in Learning in the Making: LIVE! This will be a two part series with special guest educators from the Lawrence Hall of Science!
Part 1 May 6: 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!
Catch Part 1 of our Shapes in Nature livestream on May 6 at 1:00 PM PST (or watch the video below afterwards). Make sure you bring some paper, tape, and your own toy or animal!
Part Two on May 13: 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.
Catch Part 2 of our Shapes in Nature livestream on May 13 at 1:00 PM PST (or watch the video below afterwards). 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.