How high can we go?

Still catching up. From last year, no less!

I found these photos on my Treo. They're from a creativity activity that we did in my middle daughter's gifted class. We were there for an orientation. The task was simple: using only one sheet of paper, and this little bit of tape, build something to hold a stack of books at least one inch above the ground. But the results were spectacular, especially from the viewpoint of an 8 year old girl!

I should have taken a picture of the support we came up with. Melissa and I talked for a while about strong geometry (triangles) while Eri complained that I was giving too much away. I disagreed, but I tried to hold back a little more. Melissa experimented with a few ideas, eventually coming up with a cylinder she liked.

We built them by wrapping a 1.25" strip of paper around a fat pencil. Since the more of them we had, the stronger the structure would be, we decided that a whole forest of the little cylinders would be ideal, but we didn't have enough paper for that.

Melissa decided to group them in packs of three, wrapped around with the tape to keep them together. We made four quite-similar "columns" to hold up the books.

Melissa set up the columns and placed a few books on top.

At this point, we had achieved the record. And the columns weren't even showing the first sign of stress!

Eventually, it was big enough to try some trick photography. It was as big as Melissa herself!

Melissa was supposed to stack the books by herself, but the tower was getting so tall she couldn't reach! The stacking was definitely a little haphazard at this point. We were running out of books, too. And time; the orientation was over. But we wouldn't let any of that stop us.

The teacher had to help out, partly for time's sake. But mostly because Melissa just couldn't reach the top any more! You can tell how excited she is.

Finally, as the teacher was trying to add a stack of printer paper, the tower fell. Not because the columns collapsed, though: the tower was unbalanced due to hasty construction and flexible building materials.

And of course, it made a gigantic mess we had to clean up.

A fantastic day, and a lot of fun! Melissa will certainly never forget it!