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Week of 08/06/20

Monday 8th June

WALT: Carry out a fair test



In our science lessons we have looked at different materials and their properties. Today we would like you to carry out a fair test to answer the following question:


Which paper column is the strongest?


To find the answer to this question you will need to make 3 different columns out of paper: one with a square cross-section, one with a triangular cross-section and one with a circular cross-section.  You will then test them to see how strong they are by placing books on each one.  How many books before the column collapses?

You might like to watch this video in stages - if you watch to the end you will find out the answer!

Before you start your challenge have a think about these questions:

  • How are you going to make your test fair?  What things will you need to keep the same?
  • What is your prediction and why? Which column do you think will be the weakest?  Which column do you think will be the strongest? Remember, a prediction is what you think will happen.


During your experiment, record your results using a table.  Can you draw your own table?  (Hint – you will need a table with two columns.  How many rows will you need?) What headings/titles will each of the columns of your table have?


After your experiment, think about your results.  Were your predictions correct? What do you think your results show?  (That’s your conclusion!) Which was the strongest?  Which was the weakest? Can you try to explain why? See if you can find some images of buildings with columns.  Can you see that architects and engineers use what you have found out when designing buildings?


Super Scientist Challenges

  1. This investigation answered the question `Which paper column is the strongest?’.  Can you think of another, different, way we could try to find out the answer to this question?
  2. Repeat the experiment with different types of paper or card.  Is the result the same? Can you explain?


We would love to see what you found out.  Save photos in your 'My Work' folders on Purple Mash.