(Submitted by Sydney Blome and Veronica Parish)On Thursday, August 29, Mr. Bradley's trigonometry classes completed their first lab regarding innovative thinking using methods of mathematics and design . Each pair was given a ruler, a roll of scotch tape, scissors, and a  single piece of paper. The challenge of this lab was to find the most ideal design, using only the sheet of paper, to support as many bricks as possible. Students were given twenty minutes to develop a structure that would support at least one brick for a passing grade.  
The structure had to stand at least five inches off the ground with a piece of cardboard balanced on top. Designs ranged from triangular prisms to cubes.The most successful designs were those that involved a cylindrical support.  The cylinders allowed the pressure of the brick to be evenly dispersed. Designs with sharp angles allowed the weight to collapse, weakening the paper and resulting in failure. Multiple structures had to be placed in such a way that weight could be evenly distributed among them and each side provided equal support. After each group’s design was tested, Mr. Bradley revealed that the most successful groups over the years all had the same idea; two wide based cylinders, one on each side.
Not only did this challenge pertain to trigonometry, but it also involved a lesson in architecture, engineering, and geometry. Mr. Bradley noted that the most structurally sound buildings are domes, because their weight is evenly supported without the need of much extra support. When it comes to these labs and the most effective solution, the answer really is to Keep It Simple!

Author: 
Mr. Mack