Tough Triangles

What's this Science Bite about?

Try and construct a tower from triangles and see how strong it can be.

You will need:

Card, a pen, scissors and a ruler.

  • Card
  • Pen
  • Ruler
  • Scissors

How to do this experiment

  1. Use your pen and ruler to mark the card into strips of 12cm x 4cm and carefully cut these out. You may need to ask an adult for help.
    Marking out the paper.

  2. Mark a line at 4cm and 8cm along the strips.
    Marking out lines to fold on the strips of card.

  3. Fold along the marks and tape the strips to make triangles.
    Lot's of triangles to tape together

  4. Start building! Try putting 3 triangles in a row and lay a strip of cardboard on top. Now build another layer with 2 triangles and a strip of card.
    Building using the triangles

  5. What can you put on top? Can you build a bigger tower? Why is it so strong?
    A triangle tower supporting two toy figures.

Find out more.

Triangles are widely considered to be a strong shape. The reason for this is that the forces applied to a triangle are spread out across the 3 sides. In addition to this the fixed shape makes it difficult to deform. You can try comparing the strength of structures that are made up of squares or triangle to try this yourself.

Curriculum Links

Forces

SCN 1-07a

TripAdvisor

Glasgow Science Centre