Floors and Pillars/teaching approach

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Pupils work in small groups(ta) with basic supplies (exercise books and cardboard folders can be used as floors and objects from around the room as weights) to design, build and test a floor supported by toilet roll tubes. If conducted independently the activity could be used as an assessment piece. The activity could be presented as a problem to be solved - enquiry(ta) = can you build a floor to support Nelly the Elephant? Some children may not realise that upright toilet roll tubes are less likely to be squashed than horizontal tubes so it may be useful to pause the session after a short while to share ideas. There is a useful lesson here for pupils: some materials work well in buildings when used in a certain way but less well when used in another way, therefore it is important to understand the properties of materials before using them in buildings.