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Shapes with Straws *

Difficulty
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.

Abstract

Start with 7 drinking straws and 14 paper clips. Use the paper clips to fasten the straws together. Here's how: 1) Clip two paper clips together, narrow end to narrow end. 2) Push the wide ends of each clip into the end of a straw. That's it! Connect four straws to make a square, and three straws to make a triangle. Now test which shape is stronger. Hold the shapes vertically, with an edge or a vertex resting on the tabletop. Have a helper push on the opposite side or vertex. Which shape distorts more easily? How can you strengthen it? (Hint: you can use two more straws and four more paper clips.) What is the most stable structure you can build using no more than 20 straws and 40 paper clips? How much weight will it support? (WGBH Staff, 2000)

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MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Shapes with Straws" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 30 June 2014. Web. 31 July 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/CE_p017.shtml>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, June 30). Shapes with Straws. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/CE_p017.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-06-30

Bibliography

WGBH Staff, 2000. "Building Big Educator's Guide, Activity: Straw Shapes" Educational Print and Outreach Department, WGBH Educational Foundation [accessed May 26, 2006] http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/educator/act_straw_ei.html.

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