Lesson 2: Strengthening materials

While reinforcing their mathematical vocabulary, children build different paper structures and then test them to destruction!

Before the lesson

Learning objectives

  • To explore strength in different structures
  • To understand that the shape of the structure affects its strength

National curriculum

Pupils should be taught to:


  • Select from and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics

Technical knowledge

  • Build structures, exploring how they can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable

Success criteria

Cross-curricular links

Attention grabber

Main event


Pupils needing extra support: Could work with pre-made tubes (toilet rolls, kitchen roll tubes, wrapping paper tubes).

Pupils working at greater depth: Can work more independently. Should make better quality structures (neater and with more accuracy). Can make and test different shaped structures to identify the strongest/weakest. Can suggest ways their structures could be made stronger and/or more stable, considering: size, shape, materials used and how they are fixed together.

Wrapping up

Assessing pupils' progress and understanding


Created by:
Tom Turnham,  
Design & Technology specialist
Tom has been a teacher for seven years and, as Head of Upper School at The Belham Primary School, he has a keen interest in young people and good causes. For the past seventeen years he has volunteered with various…
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