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Paper Table

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Paper Table

In this design challenge activity, learners use tubes of newspaper to make a table that’s at least eight inches tall and strong enough to hold a heavy book! Learners follow the design process to build a sturdy table out of paper tubes, make paper support more weight by changing its shape, and figure out ways to keep the table legs from buckling.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Type:

English, Spanish

Materials List (per student)

  • 1 piece of cardboard or chipboard (approximately 8 1/2 x 11 inches)
  • heavy book (e.g., a textbook or telephone book)
  • masking tape
  • 8 sheets of newspaper


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
    • Technology
      • Construction
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
  • Physical Sciences
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection:

  • Design Squad Nation


  • All Rights Reserved, WGBH Educational Foundation, ©2010

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 0810996


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