How to Build a Tower Out of Straws & Tape

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Building a tower out of straws and tape teaches basic physics. Balance is the basis of all straw construction. The builder needs to distribute the weight evenly as the tower grows higher. Straws may look stable when they are actually bending slightly; this is known as "creep". Evaluate the strength and durability of your tower as it grows. Stabilize with extra straws whenever a slight sign of instability is noticed. A large, unwavering base will ensure the greatest success in straw tower building.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Paper clips
  • Cut the bending portion (if there is one) off of every straw so you are left with straight pieces for stable building pieces.

  • Build a sturdy foundation. If the base gives way the tower will collapse. Make the bottom section broad and strong and the upper portion light.

  • Add paper clips to the corners of the lower sections. This will add weight to stabilize the bottom portion of your tower and give it strength.

  • Tape the corners of three equal lengths of straws together to form a triangle. Triangles are stronger than rectangles. Attach multiple triangles together to form strong shapes that can then be used in your construction.

  • Form modular sections that can be attached to each other as the tower progresses. Fabricate some squares and rectangles along with the triangles to create sturdy shapes for building.

  • Stabilize the structure with diagonal straw bracing.

  • Distribute the weight evenly as you move up in your tower building. The center-of-mass is the balance point that must be directly over the base as you proceed up.

  • Test the tension and compression of your components by removing the tape from one corner and notice if the two straw ends move apart or together. Moving apart indicates tension and moving together shows compression. Compression areas need more bracing to create tension.

Tips & Warnings

  • Straws can also be fastened together with paper clips, pins, or slipped into each other to form a slip joint.

References

  • Photo Credit PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
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