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Can you make paper hold up books? You certainly can! With just 4 pieces of paper and a little bit of scotch tape, we help up 27 books! This paper book tower is completely amazing to watch!
We did a paper book tower experiment this week to see which shape and which height of paper would be the strongest. We really did make paper hold up books and my kids were AMAZED at how strong it was!
How to Make Paper Hold Up Books:
Watch it in action:
My kids wanted to know which shapes would be strongest, so we folded paper into squares, circles and triangles and taped them together. Then I decided to add another component and test the height as well. We made a set of the same shapes but half the height. We made two types of circle ones, tightly wrapped and loosely wrapped to see if that made a difference.
We made four of each shape and size and then set a piece of paper on top of it. We tested the short and the tall ones at the same time. and placed books on them one at a time to see which would last the longest.
I got the most pictures of the tightly rolled paper because that was the one that held up the longest and the most weight.
We started with the triangle shaped papers. These ones held 8 for the short papers and only 4 for the tall triangles. The squares lasted through 5 books with the tall papers and 7 with the short. The circles were definitely the strongest. The widely wrapped circles held 13 for the tall ones and 23 for the short ones. Our tight wrapped papers held 27 for the tall pieces and 24 for the short ones.
My kids did guess that the tightly wrapped ones would hold the most books, but I think they were completely surprised by exactly how many. They ran out of skinny books so they started getting bigger and heavier books as we went on. As soon as we finished, they asked if we could do it again!
With just paper, tape and scissors you can do this exciting experiment with your kids!
See Some Other Fun Paper Experiments:
6 Paper Tricks that Seem like Magic
would lined paper work???
Karyn Tripp says
I think so! Give it a try. Doesn’t hurt. 🙂
no bueno says
would newspapers work?
Olivia Robinette says
Does computer paper work to build the tower
Karyn Tripp says
Yup! That’s what we used.
does newspaper work?
Karyn Tripp says
I haven’t tried it, but I think it would.
No name says
The act of balancing books with paper is simple, but it requires no knowledge to do so. The average weight of a standard, flimsy, white piece of printer paper is less than 1 gram, right around .7 grams. It would make sense that something that light isn’t able to hold the weight of a text book. But, the act of putting the paper into a cylinder will work. The secret to the paper’s new found strength is the geometrical shape known as a cylinder. Cylinders are one of the most structurally sound, and strongest, geometrical shapes. Cylinders are able to be incredibly strong, regardless of the material they’re made out of, because they disperse stress throughout their entire shape. Any paper can work, and even tiny notecards can too. My Odyssey of the Mind group figured all this out the second we were given a problem like this. It’s simple. Triangles can also work, but they are not as strong, which is also dependent on the type of material. Through my research, the physics of paper and balance is very simple, even simple enough for a seventh grader, like me, to figure out. 🙂