We've started a new enrichment class this year, called "Engineering Challenge"! It is more goal-directed than the Engineering & Design class last year.
In our first class, we had to support a heavy dictionary at least five inches off a table, using only a single sheet of paper, and optional tape. After a few mis-starts, most groups succeeded! The most common solution was to roll the paper up into a cylinder. Some groups made two or more skinnier cylinders, to improve balance.
What We Learned:
* A floppy material, like copy paper, can be given strength by rolling it up.
* If the dictionary isn't balanced well on top of the structure, even a decent structure can quickly crumple and collapse.