Build a Bridge!
March 14, 2019

Wigwam on view at the Tantaquidgeon Museum. photo: Mary Donohue

Adapted from “Wall-to-Wall: The Arch” by Robert Gregson

Arches and domes have been used in buildings since–well, the beginning! Native American wigwams are domes. Native American longhouses are a stretched out form of a dome. The State Capitol has a dome on top.

Materials

8 1/2 x 11 inch paper, cut into one-inch strips 11 inches long
Optional: a small paper plate
tape
scissors
pennies or something small to balance on top

Instructions
1. Take one strip of paper and fold a tab at each end.
2. Tape each tab to your desktop or to the outer edge of your paper plate. You’ve made an arch.
3. Balance a penny at the top of the arch.
Observe: Is the arch strong enough to hold up your penny?

4. Take a second strip of paper and fold a tab at each end.
5. Find a spot half way around the circle and tape this strip over the other one. You have the beginning of a dome.
6. Balance your penny at the top of the dome.
Observe: What do you observe about the strength of your structure?

7. Repeat with a third and fourth strip.
Observe:
Can your dome hold more than one penny on top?
What does this tell you about domes?
What do you observe about the space underneath? What could you use this space for?