Could you build a house out of paper?
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DISCUSS:

What other materials could you use to build a house?

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DISCUSS:

How could you change the properties of paper to make it better to build with? What would you do?

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Anchor Connection Discuss. Look at the "Wonder" column of your class See-Think-Wonder chart. Have any questions been answered by the past lesson?
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Step
01/10
In the past lesson, you worked with note cards. People usually use note cards to write on. Discuss. What did you use note cards to do?
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Instead of writing on the note cards, you built towers with them. They were originally made to write on, but you used them for something else.
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In the past lesson, you saw this house built out of plastic bottles. But these plastic bottles are normally used for something else. Discuss. What are plastic bottles like this normally used for?
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04/10
People are always looking for new ways to use things. Discuss. Small metal cans like this aren’t normally used to hold a plant. What do small metal cans like this normally hold?
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05/10
This metal can be used to hold soup! People can use a metal can like this in a new way without changing it. It is still a can. When you use something without completely changing it, it is called reuse.
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06/10
But what if we wanted to completely change metal cans into something else? Discuss. How do you think we could completely change metal cans into something new, like little metal building blocks?
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We can do this by melting the metal cans. Once the metal is melted, we can pour it into a new shape. Discuss. What is the name of the place where we can melt metal into new shapes?
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We can melt metal into new shapes in a foundry! Old pieces of metal, like cans, or anything else, are put into hot ovens. Then they are melted and can become something new.
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When we use the metal can again without completely changing it, we reuse it. When we melt the metal and turn it into something completely new, we recycle it.
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In the performance task for this unit, you will compare how two different things are recycled!
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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the Exploration & Activity you just completed.
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Activities

  • Paper Engineering: Fold Your Own Hat: Take your paper-folding skills to new heights…on your head! Follow these directions to make paper hats. Each time you fold the paper, you make it stiffer, thicker, and stronger.
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Watch, Talk, & Read: A House of Snow and Ice

In this video, an Inuit boy living in northern Canada learns how to build a traditional igloo from his father. (2:53, BBC)

  • Watch and discuss: Why do you think they used snow to build their shelter? Do you think it was a good idea for the boy to learn this skill? How would you feel about spending the night in an igloo?

  • When you’re done, read “A House of Snow and Ice” to find out more, and discuss. (Grades 2/3, Ohio State University)

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Video

Do you think you could build a house all by yourself?

  • Watch this man build his own log cabin in the woods. Lots of stacked-up logs make the sides of the house, mud fills the cracks in between, and fire-hardened planks cover the roof and floor. (4:17, My Self Reliance)
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Video & Slideshow

Meet world card-stacking champion Bryan Berg. Using only cards, with no glue or tape, Berg has built freestanding towers more than 25 feet tall. (That’s as tall as two giraffes standing on top of one another!)

  • Watch this slide show to see a few of Berg’s creations. Then check out this video to learn [one of his card-stacking secrets] and try it for yourself. (1:16, Guinness World Records)
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Spot-the-parts Challenge

Some artists use old junk to make their art. Can you figure out what bits of junk an artist used to make these scrap-metal cats ? Search online for “found art” to see other art made from bits and pieces.

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Print Prep
Activity Prep

In this lesson, students examine how large structures like houses are built from smaller pieces. In the activity, Paper Towers, they design their own structures using an unconventional building material: paper! Students build towers using 3" x 5" index cards and paper clips. First, they build tall towers, then they are challenged to build towers strong enough to support a hardcover book.

Preview activity

COVID-19 Adaptations
Students can work solo
Digital worksheets available

Students at home
Students need 20 index cards, 16 paper clips and a printed or digital copy of the Paper Towers worksheet (printed or digital).
Number of students:
Paper Towers worksheet 1 per student
Hardcover Books
If you only have a few books available, students can share.
Details
1 book per group
Rulers
1 ruler per student
Scissors
1 pair per student
Index Cards (3x5)
20 cards per student
Paper Clips
Bobby pins will also work and may be easier to use for younger students.
Details
16 clips per student
Prep Instructions

Each student will create their own paper tower, but we suggest students work in pairs to share ideas.

Each student will need a flat, level area where they can build a tower without bumping into someone else’s. Desktops and tables are great. Floor space works as long as you have a hard surface. We don’t recommend building towers on a carpet.

Extensions
Download this Lesson to your device so you can play it offline: