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Toronto Catholic District School Board

Grade 7 Structure Building


As part of the grade 7 science curriculum (Understanding Structures and Mechanisms:  Form and Function), the students were asked to design, build and test a structure to determine what load it can support and to do so in a manner that ensures their personal safety and the safety of others.


The students were asked to design and build a chair using only newspaper and tape, with the expectation that the chair would be strong enough for its intended function and be able to withstand the forces that might affect it.  In designing and constructing their chair they needed to keep the following criteria in mind:


     • the chair needed to maintain and resume its position when an external force was applied to it
     • the strength of the chair lies in the shapes used in its design
     • stability is dependent on material and construction techniques, as well as the centre of gravity
     • well-designed structures are safe, easy, comfortable to use and strong enough for the job they are designed for
     • there is no limit as to how much newspaper and tape is used; however, an efficient structure operates well without a waste of time, effort or expense


All grade 7 students did a fantastic job and each of their chairs was able to successfully hold their own weight in addition to the weight of the students themselves. 

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