Primary Weekly Highlights: How strong is a piece of spaghetti?

Primary Weekly Highlights: How strong is a piece of spaghetti?
Learning Primary Weekly Highlights

Our Year 6 students have just completed a brilliant Design and Technology unit focused on structures. The aim of this unit was for students to know that;

  • Structures can be supported with guy lines and flying buttresses
  • The shorter the piece of spaghetti, the stronger it will be

They would be able to:

  • Construct a flying buttress to support a tower 
  • Use appropriate lengths of spaghetti to increase strength and stability

Spaghetti Structures
The children’s learning experiences within design have been really challenging. They have been learning about guyed masts and flying buttresses as well being introduced to other technical vocabulary such as edifice and aesthetic.

As designers, the students were involved in the process of deciding how something would work, designing that something by putting materials together and evaluating the quality of their creation.

Students began by exploring the effect of forces such as gravity and compression on structures. In order to test this they used spaghetti and investigated how much weight it could withstand. They compared one piece to several combined; reflecting upon weight distribution and load bearing whilst looking at the effects of binding the spaghetti in different ways.

Spaghetti workbook 2

Spaghetti workbook 1
Students then moved on to investigating the strength and stability of various 3D shapes and explored the effects of adding features such as flying buttresses. They also invited a guest speaker, one of our parents, Mr Tzialis, an engineer, to speak about his career to date and what is involved in the work he does. 

Students finally applied what they had learned to construct a metre tall tower. Students learned so much in this unit; they were exposed to a lot of new vocabulary, they developed their understanding of structures and design, they gained a lot of new knowledge and demonstrated the ability to apply this knowledge on many occasions throughout the unit.

Spaghetti Building 2  Spaghetti Building 1

Alan McCarthy