Science Technology Engineering Art Math

By: Carrolena Silva, Dana Miller, Kelyse Kittel, and Robert Griffiths

STEAM Project 2014-2015

Project Overview:

During our steam project this year, we are building structures that can withstand a minimum of a fifty pounds, with only using a limited amount of materials. These materials are: ten manila folders, white elmers glue, popsicle sticks, and rubber bands. In this projects four roles will be used,  Journalist, Design Engineer, Height Engineer, and Strength Engineer.

Four Roles:

Dana Miller: Journalist- The journalist will interview with architects, other engineers, city planners, and people in the construction field to gather suitable information.

Kelyse Kittel: Design Engineer- The design engineer will look at designs in nature, shapes in geometry, and designs of packing material and how it affects the strength of the structure.

Carrolena Silva: Height Engineer- The height engineer will be looking at skyscrapers to see what keeps the buildings from falling over by looking at how they are built.

Robert Griffiths: Strength Engineer- The strength engineer will look at buildings and building codes to find out what makes them strong enough to hold up to natural forces


Equilibrium- a state of rest or balance due to the equal action of opposing forces

Rigidity- stiff or unyielding; not pliant or flexible; hard

Tension- the state of being stretched tight

Compression- to press together; force into less space


Science- In science we are figuring out how natural causes and forces of nature affect a structure.

Technology- In order to share our knowledge with the world, we have created a website to help people understand what high school students are doing this year at Foothills Academy College Preparatory.

Engineering- We are creating a structure based on engineering techniques and laws.

Art- We have created a blueprint of our structure and have written our ideas and methods.

Math- We have formulated our ideas and methods into geometrical patterns and proofs and researched past monuments and how they are constructed to see what geometrical formula and shape works best.


Wild Card 1: Tape (Cinta) - We chose tape because we thought it would be used as a  good adhesive and something to hold everything together.

Wild Card 2: Popsicle sticks (Palos de Palenta) - We have chosen popsicle sticks because they are made out of wood and can be used as a strong base, as well as a strong frame.

Manila Folders (Carpenta de Manila) -  Manila Folders are being used as pillars for our structure.

Glue (Pegamento) - The glue is used to keep all the materials steady and in place.


1.Make base with popsicle sticks ( hacemos una base con palos de paleta)

2. Cover popsicle sticks with glue ( cubrimos los palos de paleta con pegamento)

3. Roll five manila folders to make cylinder (enrollmos cinco carpetas de papel manila para hace un cilindro)

4. Roll the next five manila folders (Enrollmos las otras cinco carpetas de manila)

5. Put one cylinder inside of another manila folder ( Ponemos una cilindro dentro de otro carpenta de manila)

6.  Tape folder tubes to base ( Pegar con cinta a la base)

7. Fill manila folders with popsicle sticks and glue ( llenamos carpenta de manila con palos de paleta y pegamento)

8. Tape top to manila folders ( Cintamos la cima a carpenta de manila)

History: For this section we chose three different structures and monuments to understand better how the buildings had continued to remain after these many years after creation, how their height is still prominently tall, and how a great base is imperative. We chose the Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Statue of Liberty, and The Empire State Building for our models to learn from.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa- The Tower of Pisa did not have a strong base. The Tower was built right on top of a layer of sand, there were no supports and a structured base for the building. Today the Leaning Tower of Pisa would have been standing straight up at a ninety degree angle but the equilibrium was not balanced and one of the sides did not have an equal force but only opposing.

The Statue of Liberty- The Statue of Liberty had the carvings and accent pieces added to the foundation and shape of the base. The foundation of the Statue had been two planks laying down with four planks standing straight upwards to the sky and had tension or was stretched tightly so that it had deflected the environmental changes and great deterioration itself.

The Empire State Building- The Empire State Building had a concrete foundation with steel frame work forming the tower in squares. The materials used had caused the building to have major rigidity or stiffness and no flexibility. Forming the tower by squares had made it have  great compression where there was no space and was pressed tightly together so the building would be strong against natural causes and have height that still stands tall today.


Journalist- Dana Miller

Interviewed: Tammy Dowd

How does constructing a strong base play into having a good building or structure?

- Its important to determine your soil structure as to what type of foundation is needed. Environment plays a factor as well.

What helps a tall building maintain its height?

~ The foundation and structural supports.

What shapes are commonly used to construct buildings/ platforms?

~Anything goes, being creative seems to be the new norm.

What kind of material is best used for building or does it depend on the building?

~It depends on the building. Buildings are made of various materials, steel, wood, hay (your school), fiberglass, etc.

What is the most important part of a structure?

~I think design, since buildings are often unique. A good solid creative design will not only be functional but long lasting.

Does the environmental setting affect how the building is built?

~Absolutely, floods, earthquakes, expansive soil are all very important factors.

Design Engineer- Kelyse Kittel

Structures in Nature: Honeycomb structures are made of hexagons, trees create rings as they age, and rocks have layers from the different conditions they have been in.

Geometry: Common shapes in geometry are cylinders, cubes, cones and pyramids.

Height Engineer- Carrolena Silva

What keeps structures from falling?

- The foundations are built deep below the ground so that the center of gravity is under the surface therefore it is unlikely to fall over without tearing up the base.  

Strength Engineer- Robert Griffiths

What makes a building strong?

-There are many things that make a building strong. The foundation and the structure of the fame of the building all contribute the the strength of the building.

What does the fame do for the building?

-The frame is the back bone of the overall structure. It hold all the weight of the building and supports in so that it does not look chintzy. Most towers are built using a cube form for the frame, this is because cubes are sturdy and can be stacked easily.

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