Floors and Pillars

From OER in Education
So many uses for toilet roll tubes - use them as a support for a floor.

Lesson idea. Build a floor to support Nelly the Elephant using toilet roll/kitchen roll tubes as pillars.

Teaching approach. Pupils work in small groups(ta) with basic supplies (exercise books and cardboard folders can be used as floors and objects from around the room as weights) to design, build and test a floor supported by toilet roll tubes. If conducted independently the activity could be used as an assessment piece. The activity could be presented as a problem to be solved - enquiry(ta) = can you build a floor to support Nelly the Elephant? Some children may not realise that upright toilet roll tubes are less likely to be squashed than horizontal tubes so it may be useful to pause the session after a short while to share ideas. There is a useful lesson here for pupils: some materials work well in buildings when used in a certain way but less well when used in another way, therefore it is important to understand the properties of materials before using them in buildings. (edit)

Resource details
Title Floors and Pillars
Teaching approach
Learning Objectives
  • to gain understanding of the nature of force and the way in which force acts on objects, in the context of using hollow tubes to support a floor
  • to make observations and discuss the direction simple forces
Format / structure
Age of students / grade
Table of contents
Additional Resources/material needed
Useful information
Related ORBIT Wiki Resources
Other (e.g. time frame)
Files and resources to view and download

This resource was adapted from resources and original ideas contributed by Paul Warwick, at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge.