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Shapes with Straws *

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Areas of Science Civil Engineering
Difficulty
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

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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)

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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General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Shapes with Straws." Science Buddies, 28 July 2017, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/CE_p017/civil-engineering/shapes-with-straws?class=AQVw43o475IAfxVh-LecWCG9HBQSX9gzyGXEdm90cnkibj2nbf8wd_7MGVwikEN45G6x8uhjclQDpncv7MFHYOxLql1EiiG4LWFlZOKgzDLMTQ. Accessed 6 June 2020.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2017, July 28). Shapes with Straws. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/CE_p017/civil-engineering/shapes-with-straws?class=AQVw43o475IAfxVh-LecWCG9HBQSX9gzyGXEdm90cnkibj2nbf8wd_7MGVwikEN45G6x8uhjclQDpncv7MFHYOxLql1EiiG4LWFlZOKgzDLMTQ


Last edit date: 2017-07-28

Experimental Procedure

For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.

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