Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Toppling Toilet Tube Towers - The Scientific Method







I noticed, this week, that our recyclables were starting to overflow in the craft room, especially the toilet paper tubes.  With eight of us in the house, those sorts of things can really pile up.

Before clearing them out, I thought we should put them to some use for fun, and maybe a little learning, too.

First off, I built the tubes up into a tower (triangles on top of triangles) and asked the younger children (ages 8-12) if they were to fling a pompom into the tower, which size pompom would they use...


...and where would they need to hit the tower to do the most damage?


They each picked a spot on the tower to hit...


...and explained, based on what they knew about gravity, and stacks of items, why they thought hitting that spot would do the most damage to the tower as a whole.


After a few practice shots with a hairband...


...for a slingshot...


...they were ready to take on the tower.


Finally, after several turns, destroying...


...and rebuilding the tower...


...they leaned enough about how a tower of cardboard tubes actually acted when hit by pompoms...


...in contrast to how they had originally thought it would come down, to be ready to use the information gathered through their experiments to modify their original assumptions.

In the end, they found that hitting the tower low in the middle was a good plan, but that they needed something heaver and wider than a pompom (like an extra toilet paper tube) to throw at the tower, if they really wanted to topple it over.

6 comments:

Dawn Rebekah said...

Awesome! I love the way you all do science.
I missed the assassination attempts on Obama and Clinton too until I read about them in the Brick book. They count the man who shot bullets into the White House while the Obama's were away as an attempt. I wouldn't have really counted that one, but they did.
Blessings, Dawn

Karin Huber said...

Cheap, easy and cool! I like your ideas.

Angelic Scalliwags said...

Great idea, and you can't get much more frugal than loo roll! I would so love to have a craft room of somewhere to store model building boxes, cans and rolls.
This was a really effective way of demonstrating the scientific method.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I love your simple, fun, educational activities.

Natalie PlanetSmartyPants said...

Wow, this is a perfect activity for a boredom jar :) I wonder what my daughter would have predicted.

Ticia said...

I was thinking the pom pom would need to be heavier, glad to find out my theory was correct.

My kids would love this activity.