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Build a Roof to Save Fred

September 8th was our first “Onboard Friday,” where all of the students in 3-5th grades choose between three activities hosted by one of the older kid team teachers. One option was an engineering project for some creative and curious problem solvers.

Here was the story:

Fred bought a house, but it was a real “fixer upper.” It was a great deal, he couldn't pass it up. Fred built the floor and the walls all in one day! He would start on the roof tomorrow. That night, he forgot to check his App’s hour-by-hour page and therefore he didn’t even see the 99% chance of rain ALL NIGHT. As good friends, we all stepped in to help him solve this problem with our engineering skills.

Here is the list of building materials, and while every group had 1 arms length of tape, Frugal Fred only budgeted enough to buy 4 of the 6 other materials:

  • Tissue paper

  • Wax paper

  • Popsicle sticks

  • Pipe cleaners

  • Felt

  • Rubber bands

When choosing materials, teams had to ask themselves a few questions:

What materials work well in water? What shape works when water pours down? What strong materials will hold the roof down? What stylish colors do I want to put on Fred’s new house?

After about 30 minutes of engineering, each of the 3 groups came up with design and built a roof for Fred. We simulated the rainstorm with a watering can, which poured water for 8 seconds on each house. Two of the three Freds remained dry, only one Fred went for a swim in his living room!

Let the rainstorms begin!

Some proud engineers

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