Designing a Wall

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In this engineering activity (page 5 of PDF), young learners investigate how materials and design contribute to the strength of a structure, particularly walls. Learners use different materials to construct "walls" and then test the strength of each by setting up a ramp near the wall and releasing a car from the top of the ramp. Learners also watch a video clip and develop a fair test to compare the strength of the different walls they have constructed. This activity is part of the Curious George "Under Construction" lesson plan and related to the show Curious George on PBS, specifically the episode "Keep Out Cows." The lesson plan includes several activities that explore building engineering. Activities are connected to fiction and non-fiction books and include family extension projects.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 8

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • PBS Curious George Episode: Keep Out Cows
  • TV or computer to show video
  • String
  • Clothespins
  • Newspaper
  • Ramps and toy cars
  • Tape
  • Tables or chairs
  • Blocks or books
  • Various materials: craft sticks, egg cartons, clay, play dough, small rocks, pieces of cardboard or poster board, paper tubes, paper cups, etc.


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Architectural Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
    • Technology
      • Construction
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Literature
  • Model Building
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • hear
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Curious George


  • All rights reserved, Universal Studios, 2006

Funding Source:

  • Shea Homes