Invention, Innovation, Inquiry


Order today!


In this unit students act as structural engineers. The students will design and construct at least two laminated paper beams. They will explore forces that act on structures and discover that the strength of a beam varies with height, shape, and thickness. Lastly, they will test, evaluate, and revise their beams using feedback from testing to refine their designs.

Learning Goals

Students will:

  • Describe forces that act on structures.
  • Explain how the size and shape of a beam will affect the ability to resist loads.
  • Calculate the efficiency of a constructed beam.
  • Design, construct, and test a variety of beams to determine which can support the most weight.


All units contain teacher background information, handouts, transparency masters, and a student packet

Each unit is designed to integrate mathematics and science with technology and take 8 to 10 days.


Acknowledgment and Disclaimer
"This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0095922.""Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation."